Exercise in space: the European Space Agency approach to in-flight exercise countermeasures for long-duration missions on ISSReport as inadecuate




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Extreme Physiology and Medicine

, 5:9

First Online: 02 August 2016Received: 30 March 2016Accepted: 06 July 2016

Abstract

BackgroundTo counteract microgravity µG-induced adaptation, European Space Agency ESA astronauts on long-duration missions LDMs to the International Space Station ISS perform a daily physical exercise countermeasure program. Since the first ESA crewmember completed an LDM in 2006, the ESA countermeasure program has strived to provide efficient protection against decreases in body mass, muscle strength, bone mass, and aerobic capacity within the operational constraints of the ISS environment and the changing availability of on-board exercise devices. The purpose of this paper is to provide a description of ESA’s individualised approach to in-flight exercise countermeasures and an up-to-date picture of how exercise is used to counteract physiological changes resulting from µG-induced adaptation. Changes in the absolute workload for resistive exercise, treadmill running and cycle ergometry throughout ESA’s eight LDMs are also presented, and aspects of pre-flight physical preparation and post-flight reconditioning outlined.

ResultsWith the introduction of the advanced resistive exercise device ARED in 2009, the relative contribution of resistance exercise to total in-flight exercise increased 33–46 %, whilst treadmill running 42–33 % and cycle ergometry 26–20 % decreased. All eight ESA crewmembers increased their in-flight absolute workload during their LDMs for resistance exercise and treadmill running running speed and vertical loading through the harness, while cycle ergometer workload was unchanged across missions.

ConclusionIncreased or unchanged absolute exercise workloads in-flight would appear contradictory to typical post-flight reductions in muscle mass and strength, and cardiovascular capacity following LDMs. However, increased absolute in-flight workloads are not directly linked to changes in exercise capacity as they likely also reflect the planned, conservative loading early in the mission to allow adaption to µG exercise, including personal comfort issues with novel exercise hardware e.g. the treadmill harness. Inconsistency in hardware and individualised support concepts across time limit the comparability of results from different crewmembers, and questions regarding the difference between cycling and running in µG versus identical exercise here on Earth, and other factors that might influence in-flight exercise performance, still require further investigation.

KeywordsExercise countermeasures Microgravity European Space Agency International Space Station Astronaut training Space flight Physical performance AbbreviationsAFAastronaut fitness assessment

AREDadvanced resistive exercise device

BD-1-2Begushaya Dorozhka 1-2, Russian ISS treadmills

CEVIScycle ergometer with vibration isolation and stabilisation system

COLBERTcombined operational load bearing external resistance treadmill

CMScountermeasure exercise

CSACanadian Space Agency

EACEuropean Astronaut Centre

ESAEuropean Space Agency

FSAFederal Space Agency Roscosmos

iREDinterim resistive exercise device

ISSInternational Space Station

JAXAJapan Aerospace Exploration Agency

LDMlong-duration mission

NASANational Aeronautics and Space Administration

MO-3-5medical operations document

PFEperiodic fitness evaluation

RMrepetition maximum

TVIStreadmill with vibration isolation and stabilisation system

T22nd generation treadmill

USOSUnited States On-orbit Segment

VELORussian cycle ergometer

VO2maxmaximal oxygen uptake

µGmicrogravity

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Author: Nora Petersen - Patrick Jaekel - Andre Rosenberger - Tobias Weber - Jonathan Scott - Filippo Castrucci - Gunda Lambrecht -

Source: https://link.springer.com/







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