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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
Basic Sciences: Symposium: Physiological Adaptations and Countermeasures Associated with Long-Duration Spaceflights Restricted Physical Activity: an Update

Exercise as a countermeasure for physiological adaptation to prolonged spaceflight

CONVERTINO, VICTOR A.

Section Editor(s): Tipton, Charles M.

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Abstract

Exercise represents the primary countermeasure used during spaceflight to maintain or restore maximal aerobic capacity (˙VO2max), musculoskeletal structure, and orthostatic function. However, no single exercise or combination of prescriptions has proven entirely effective in restoring cardiovascular and musculoskeletal functions to preflight levels following prolonged spaceflight. As human spaceflight exposures increase in duration, assessment and development of various effective exercise-based protective procedures become paramount. This must involve improvement in specific countermeasure prescription as well as development of additional approaches that will allow space travelers greater flexibility and medical safety during long flights. Effective exercise prescription will be based on identification of basic physiological stimuli that maintain normal function in terrestrial gravity and understanding of how specific combinations of exercise characteristics (e.g., duration, frequency, intensity, mode) can mimic these stimuli and affect the overall process of adaptation to microgravity. This can be accomplished only with greater emphasis of research on ground-based experiments. Future attention must also be directed to improving exercise compliance while minimizing both crew time and the impact of the exercise on life-support resources.

©1996The American College of Sports Medicine

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