Only when you know summer is just weeks away, you will get off the couch, into your sneakers and out on the street for a little exercise. Your gym is next door. You even keep a bike in your attic, but you haven’t used it for years because you haven’t quite felt like it. You seem to have been vaxxed against the sport bug, but there are some who need to exercise in a minimal space, with almost non-existent resources and zero gravity.
We’re talking about the astronauts and the high-class gym they’ve set up on the International Space Station (ISS). They don’t pump iron to go one size down, but to avoid body atrophies. Due to microgravity, astronauts need to do a very little effort to move, so each month they spend in space, they lose 1% of muscle mass and bone density. To avoid this, they do spinning and chest exercises, using devices quite different from the ones we all know in Earth.
They have a kind of stationary bike, but it’s nothing like the one you have in mind. It has no handlebars or saddle. Astronauts climb onto a rack, fasten themselves with a belt, and run pedals placed at the bottom. The basic mechanism is similar to your gym bike. Just adjust the resistance setting level… Et voilà!
On board the ISS there is also a treadmill for running fans and a biceps machine to get arms like Popeye’s. Just as the stationary bike, you’ll never guess at first sight what these contraptions are used for. They are basically clamps to make it easier for astronauts to exercise despite microgravity. Apparently, you can really do sports with anything!