One of the cardinal rules of fashion is that you have to be able to fit into your clothes. Many of my friends spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars at retail stores buying fashionable clothing that they hope will make them look good, but then they neglect to put as much thought and care into their fitness routine. Those of you who read this blog know that I am completely the opposite. Well, I recently ventured out for a day of culture at the nearby planetarium, and fitness was admittedly the last thing on my mind, but it was all I could think about when I left.
I have always been sort of a science geek and the museum was running an online promotion through telescopeobserver.com, so I got buy one get one free tickets! In addition to the awesome show at the planetarium, there happened to be a small exhibit about astronauts and their rigorous exercise training before departure, in space, and post landing. Did you know that astronauts are required to exercise a minimum of two hours a day while in space? This helps to make sure their bodies do not change too much from the anti-gravity living. There are even treadmills with specially made restraints to make the astronauts feel like they are running on Earth! So interesting!
As aforementioned, I take my fitness routines quite seriously, but in no way was I prepared for the gargantuan amount (and variety) of exercise these astronauts have to put in. For the first moon landing, all the astronauts on board went through a 3-year physical endurance training before even stepping foot on the spaceship. I learned that the astronauts are taught to practice yoga and kempo karate, undergo strict core strengthening exercises, lift weights and must stretch for at least an hour daily. This was in addition to their almost daily safety drills and gravity training.
For modern expeditions, crossfit exercises have been added to the average astronaut’s exercise regimen. The exhibit included pictures of the NASA crossfit gym and it was so humbling to see them exercising alongside pictures of satellite images and astronomical telescopes, as a way to remind them of their goal and to always keep fighting. It just made me truly reflect on how much strength our astronauts have, not only mentally, but physically. When you truly think about it, they’re training to be launched into space!
While on board the space shuttle, their two hours of exercise is mostly cardio based, with lots of focus on flexibility. In order to keep their blood adequately flowing, their bones intact and their muscles hard, exercise is mandatory.
Once they return home, astronauts must keep up the physical activity in order to help their bodies assimilate back to a gravity bearing environment. Apparently transitioning from the two environments can be quite detrimental to the human body if it is not properly prepared. To this day, scientists still study what the best exercise and diet regimen is for astronauts in both gravity and non-gravity environments.
It makes me feel lucky that I only have to worry about exercising for an environment in gravity! Additionally, it makes me realize that no one should have any excuse not to exercise! I know that most of us have busy lives and hectic jobs, but if fitness is a priority, you will find a way to schedule it into your routine! If people in one of the most demanding and stressful jobs can set aside time to be fit, surely you can too.
Anyway, at the end of the tour there was a local gym that I had heard of from a friend offering a free two-week astronaut-style fitness coaching. I’ve been wanting to take my work out to the next level, so I signed up. Over the next two weeks I will be coached into working out with the same routines and at the same intensity that those preparing to be astronauts do. I am so excited to be able to step it up. Wish me luck! I really hope that I don’t die as I elevate my fitness training to be out of this world!