Cologne / Konstanz - The European Space Agency (ESA) is currently testing training concept for astronauts that sports scientists from the University of Konstanz have developed. In the study carried out by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne, 24 participants had to stay in lying position for two full months. The muscle and bone breakdown while lying down simulates the effects of weightlessness on the body. The researchers involved use the study to determine how effectively Konstanz training device for astronauts prevents the loss of muscle and bone mass.
The Konstanz training program for astronauts is based on so-called reactive jumps. A “reactive jump” occurs when an athlete comes back on the ground after first jump and immediately jumps on. “Very high forces act on bones and muscles in these jumps, briefly up to 10,000 Newtons, the weight of small car.
No other natural human movement generates similarly high forces for the leg muscles and bones, ”explains Andreas Kramer, who developed the training concept together with Markus Gruber at the University of Konstanz. Afterwards, “reactive jumps” could be an ideal exercise for astronauts to counteract the breakdown of bone and muscle in weightlessness. The astronauts are clamped into "jump sled" which does not allow them to float away after jumping, but rather brings them back to the ground with counterforce equal to the level of earth gravity.
The training device could be used on the International Space Station Application. In addition to the space mission, it is also interesting for use on Earth because it enables horizontal jumps in lying position. Among other things, the device could be used to build muscle after leg injuries or to prevent osteoporosis.