Maintaining Fitness In Space

Maintaining Fitness In Space Spending 6 months or longer in the microgravity environment of the International Space Station is going to take a toll on muscle mass and conditioning. To help combat these negative effects, resistance and cardio machines have been installed so the crew can work out. How effective is this training? A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology provides an interesting perspective on the challenge.

Researchers tested the aerobic capacity of 9 male and 5 female astronauts 90 days before leaving Earth, 15 days after launch and every 30 days of during the space station mission. On average, peak oxygen consumption decreased by 17% shortly after arriving at the space station. This measurement of aerobic fitness gradually increased during the mission, but never returned to pre-flight levels for most subjects. On the other hand, peak heart rate didn't change from pre-flight measurements.

True Strength Moment: Because some subjects exercised with greater intensity at the space station, they were able to maintain aerobic fitness better than subjects who didn't push their training or weren't in top shape to begin with. Like fitness objectives here on Earth, goals can be met in space by those determined to get there.
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