Billions of people are banned to limit the spread of corona viruses and need to find creative ways to stay in shape at home – and a group that spends months in isolation has come to their aid.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) posted a video on Twitter sharing their training routine from 250 miles above the earth.
Jessica Meir of NASA took the public on a tour of her makeshift equipment, which includes a vacuum system similar to free weights, a treadmill with bungee cables, and a stationary bike without a seat or handlebar.
“Studies have shown that exercise is crucial only for your physical health, but also for your mental well-being,” Meir said in the clip.
“You may need to be a little creative to increase your heart rate at home without going to the gym, but we’re confident you can come up with something.”
The corona virus, which started in China in December 2019, has forced around 20 percent of the world’s population into their homes, either at home or under quarantine.
Almost every country is infected with the disease – there are more than a million cases in the world and the death toll has exceeded 55,700.
In these anxious times, many are looking for ways to reduce stress and have turned to sports.
However, holding on to a great workout at home can be difficult, but Meir and her team have shared their routine while also spending time in isolation.
Training in space is a unique challenge, but without training, astronauts can lose up to 15 percent of their muscle mass, some of them permanently.
On board the ISS is the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (aRED), which, according to Meir, is the crew’s one-stop weight machine that uses two large vacuum tubes to create resistance.
The system uses a piston and flywheel system to simulate free weight exercises in normal gravity and to train all important muscle groups through squats, deadlifts and calf raises.
Astronauts have reported seeing results similar to using dumbbells.
“While aRED’s main goal is to maintain muscle strength and muscle mass, resistance exercises also help astronauts improve endurance for physically demanding tasks such as space walks,” NASA said in a statement.
The crew also need to do some cardiovascular exercises that are done on a small treadmill or stationary bike – but they are different from those you see in your own gym.
The treadmill on board the ship is designed so that astronauts can walk without vibrating the equipment.
It is also equipped with a strap that is connected to bungee cables that hold the runner in place in weightlessness.
“One of the interesting things we like to point out to people on the ground that it is a bicycle, but we have no seat and no handlebars,” said Meir as she strapped into the bicycle and grabbed handles on the wall .
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who has spent almost a year on the ISS, also gave his best advice on surviving isolation.
The retired astronaut spent a total of 520 days on the space station, with his longest mission lasting from March 27, 2015 to March 1, 2016, 340 days.
Kelly says the only thing he missed most about his year on the ISS was being able to go outside, especially the smell, the sound, and the sights of nature.
He says people should also keep to a schedule, have a hobby, keep a diary, watch TV series, and “get a lot of sleep” when they’re forced to stay inside.
He said other astronauts on the ISS would loop recordings of earth sounds like birds and resulting trees to bring themselves back to Earth.
“I started craving nature – the color green, the smell of fresh dirt, and the feeling of warm sun on my face,” he told the New York Times.
“You don’t have to train like an astronaut two and a half hours a day, but getting moving once a day should be part of your quarantine plan (stay at least a meter away from others),” he added.