The American Heart Association claims that astronauts must keep themselves physically active while in space for a healthy and good heart.
According to NASA astronaut and geophysicist A.J. Drew Feustel, the human heart slightly expands and works differently in space due to lack of gravity. Feustel is currently on his way to the International Space Station along with two other astronauts Ricky Arnold and Oleg Artemyev. They are scheduled to arrive at the orbiting lab on Friday, March 23.
Feustel claims that the heart’s pumping action also works differently. It is due to the lack of gravity that the heart needs to works harder in order to circulate blood to the feet. Astronauts exercise for three hours daily while in orbit to counteract those effects.
“Exercise stimulates bone and muscle strength, but it is also good for our hearts, and that is the key, right?” said the NASA astronaut. “We need to keep that cardiovascular activity really working.”
He added that they need to concentrate on working out their lower body muscles that aren’t used as much without gravity. Astronauts move around in space with just the touch of their little finger. They opt for workout routines including treadmill exercises and resistance machines that help build muscle and fight bone density loss in the weightless environment.
Nutrition is important in space as is it is on Earth, in fact, astronauts need to consume more calories while in space. They need to consume around 2,700 to 3,700 calories a day in space, which sometimes is very difficult for them. They are required to enter everything they eat on a food tracker, giving physicians a complete dietary history.
“Our families also have the opportunity to send us care packages,” said Feustel.
Feustel, Arnold, and Artemyev are expected to return to Earth in August to close out their 159 days voyage.