Pop Quiz: Exercising in space

Astronauts don’t stop exercising when they travel into space. In fact, they double down with a rigorous exercise regimen to fight bone and muscle loss during their long duration spaceflight missions.

Far above the Earth, astronauts are exercising on the International Space Station (ISS) to combat the effects of microgravity on the human body, like atrophy.

Working out in a weightless environment like space has its own unique challenges, but it is extremely important that astronauts maintain their physical fitness on station, and as they venture farther from home on their journey to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

But working out doesn’t have to be all work and no play. Watch the NASA clip below for scenes from the first-ever space Olympics, and test out what you know about weightless workouts with today’s pop quiz!

On average, how many hours do astronauts workout a day?

Running in space
Correct! Wrong!

On average, astronauts will devote two hours each day to working out while they are in space.

True or False: There is a treadmill onboard the ISS that was named in honor of late-night comedian Stephen Colbert.

COLBERT treadmill
Correct! Wrong!

True. The second treadmill to be added to the ISS was named the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill, or COLBERT, in honor of the late-night comedian whose fans earned him the most entries for NASA’s online naming poll of the station’s Node 3. Since NASA opted to name the node Tranquility, they decided on giving the station's newest exercise device the name of the famed comedian instead.

Which of the following exercise devices can be found on the ISS?

CEVIS
Correct! Wrong!

All three of these pieces of equipment can be found onboard the ISS! In fact, there are two treadmills on station to keep astronauts fit - A Treadmill with Vibration Isolation System (TVIS) and COLBERT. The Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) is frequently used by astronauts to weight train and improve their physical conditioning while in orbit. The Cycle Ergometer is much like a stationary bike and is used by NASA to monitor an astronaut's fitness levels in space.

Up to how many free-weight exercises can astronauts do with the ARED?

ARED
Correct! Wrong!

Astronauts can perform up to 29 different free-weight workouts with the ARED on station, including bench press, heel raises, squats, and dead lifts.

True or False: Astronauts have run marathons in space.

Suni Williams on treadmill
Correct! Wrong!

True. While it isn't part of their normal exercise routine, some astronauts have gone above and beyond with their weightless workouts by participating in marathons from space, like NASA astronaut Suni Williams who ran the Boston Marathon on the TVIS during Expedition 14!

At what rate do astronauts lose bone mass during their 4-6 month missions?

Working out with the ARED
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Astronauts lose bone mass at a rate of 1-2% per month during 4-6 month stays on the ISS, according to NASA.

What is the ARED's maximum load for cable exercises on the ISS?

Weightlifting in space
Correct! Wrong!

According to NASA, the ARED's maximum load for cable exercises onboard the ISS is 670 N, or 150 pounds in a 1-G environment. The maximum load for bar exercises is 2,670 N, or up to 600 pounds in a 1-G environment.

Which of the following sports was included in the first-ever space Olympics?

Space Olympics
Correct! Wrong!

All three of these activities were performed in the, "first-ever space Olympics," according to NASA. Watch a clip from the historic games here.

Pop Quiz: Exercising in Space
Nice try!

So close! Want to learn more about exercising in space? Click here. And don't miss our highly interactive summer exhibit, Beyond Human Limits, which explores the parallels between astronaut training and extreme sports.
Nice job!

Great job! Want to learn more about exercising in space? Click here. And don't miss our highly interactive summer exhibit, Beyond Human Limits, which explores the parallels between astronaut training and extreme sports.

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