By Science Daily
Run far or run fast? That is one of the questions NASA is trying to answer with one of its latest studies — and the answers may help keep us in shape on Earth, as well as in space. Even with regular exercise, astronauts who spend an extended period of time in space experience muscle weakening, bone loss, and decreased cardiovascular conditioning. This is because they no longer have to work against gravity in everyday living.
NASA’s Human Research Program Integrated Resistance and Aerobic Training study, known as iRAT, completed recently to evaluate the use of high intensity exercise training to minimize loss of muscle, bone, and cardiovascular function on the International Space Station. To stay healthy in space, astronauts are scheduled to exercise for two and a half hours per day for six days per week. Most, however, exercise seven days per week. They perform both cardio and resistance exercises to keep their muscles and bones strong.
“The theory was that a more stringent regimen of resistance training and interval aerobic exercise would help the astronauts stay fit while on the space station,” Dr. Lori Ploutz-Snyder, principle investigator said. “This is of particular importance to future crews who travel to Mars.”
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