Astronaut Jessica Meir Shares Some Tips On Staying Healthy While In Isolation

NASA astronaut Jessica Meir strikes a superhero pose in the weightless environment of the International Space Station. NASA

Over one-third of humanity is currently under some form of lockdown legislation to mitigate the spread of the new coronavirus. The sudden shift in our daily habits has led to the rapid spread of at-home videos showcasing the many activities we can do while in isolation.

To add to the mix, astronaut Jessica Meir and colleague Drew Morgan recently shared tips for living well in isolation. Both currently reside aboard the International Space Station (ISS) and know quite a bit about living and working in a cramped space.

In the video, Meir discusses the importance of exercise for physical and mental well-being, working out two hours a day. For astronauts, it is not just a way to alleviate boredom, it is crucial for their health as living in microgravity reduces both bone density and muscle mass. 

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The astronauts also showed the three exercise machines available to them on the ISS. First up is the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED), which Meir describes as their “one-stop weight machine.” 

Then there are the cardio machines. One is a treadmill but with a twist – the astronauts wear a harness to keep close to the machine since they're not being pulled down by gravity. The machine was even used by European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Tim Peake to run the London Marathon in 2016. The final exercise device is the Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization (CEVIS). If you don’t care for the name, just know that it is a stationary bike but without the earthly need for a seat or a handlebar.

“This gives us probably our most cardiovascularly intense workout,” says Drew Morgan in the video. “I get a much greater heart rate doing this than I do running on the treadmill.”

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The two have also made a video for kids, suggesting what they can do during this time, such as reading and playing instruments.

 

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