Photo Credit: esa.int
When I saw Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in an IMAX 3D viewing of the blockbuster movie “Gravity”…
I had to, about 5 minutes in, with intention, relax my hands from their death grips on the armrests.
It. Was. Intense.
As a personal trainer… it did raise the question:
How the hell do astronauts exercise in space?!?
Ever since I was a kid I have been fascinated by space; I have always wanted to be an astronaut. Became a teacher instead, but the fascination remains!
I read that atrophy sets in rather quickly for astronauts… our bodies live in a gravity-centric world here on Earth and, without that gravity… the body starts to fall apart.
So how do astronauts stay fit in space? They can’t simply lift some hand weights, do some jump squats, or bench press 225.
To minimize the physiological effects of micro-gravity, NASA has equipped the International Space Station (ISS, of no relation to ISIS) with some fancy fitness equipment.
• There’s a space treadmill named COLBERT.
• There’s a stationary bike called CEVIS.
• And a device that simulates weightlifting called ARED.
I knew astronauts had to spend some time each “day” exercising but I was SHOCKED to read that astronauts spend up two-and-a-half hours a day working out on the ISS.
Even with this regime however, those who spend a long duration in space return to Earth with
• muscular atrophy,
• cardiovascular deconditioning, and
• bone loss
that can be difficult to reverse.
In fact, according to NASA, after 180 days in space:
• muscular strength can decrease by anywhere from 11 to 17%,
• muscular endurance by about 10%, and
• bone mineral density by 2 to 7%.
An unexpected bonus, however, is that recovery is much faster in space thanks to less lactic acid building, according to Robert Tweedy, Countermeasures System Instructor.
If we’re going to get to Mars, and beyond, and it’s only time until we do, we’ll have to figure out how to counteract even better the effects of Zero G’s…
otherwise when they get back from their out-of-this world travels… they’ll be truly screwed up and unable to function on earth.
Oh… and have you heard about the “One Way Ticket” to Mars proposal? Turns out it’s a lot cheaper to get people to Mars than to get them there and get them back to Earth…
Would you take that ticket?!?