Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Regular Exercise Not Enough For Astronauts in Space

As if being an astronaut isn't hard enough already, now they even have to work out harder than the rest of us!

It's not exactly news that gravity is an important factor in maintaining bone mineral density, but according to a new study published in The Journal of Applied Physiology, astronauts lose significant muscle strength and mass while in outer space, in addition to bone loss.

Despite using a treadmill, a cycle ergometer, and a resistance exercise machine to perform 5 hours a week of cardio with daily resistance training, the astronauts' muscles still shrunk significantly! The researchers suggest that the exercise regime of future astronauts should be modified in order to preserve their muscle mass.

Wow - that doesn't seem fair, now does it? I think it's safe to say that those poor astronauts do more exercise than the majority of people in North America and yet they're still getting the losing end of the deal. This begs the question - why on earth (or space?) do people subject themselves to this? All in the name of science, I suppose?