The human body evolved in the constraints of the earth’s gravitational forces. So, what happens when you subject it to zero gravity? One of the impacts is muscle atrophy, and medics have raised concerns for space tourists. So, what exactly is muscle atrophy? Can it be addressed?
What is Muscle Atrophy?
This is a condition that happens when muscles start to waste away. Consider human muscles as active organs that are always working against the forces of gravity. At zero-gravity, the force is eliminated, resulting in the activation of proteolytic systems that remove contractile proteins and organelles. Finally, one starts experiencing the shrinking of muscle fibers.
This problem is very common to people who travel to space. Studies have indicated that astronauts lose about 20% of muscle when they take a space flight that lasts for 5-11 days. In some cases, muscle atrophy can also be accompanied by spaceflight osteopenia, commonly known as deterioration of the skeleton.
The main causes of bone and muscle wasting as well as the relationship micro-gravity is a new study area. Therefore, scientists are researching the problem to be able to predict personal risks for muscle atrophy, use of exercises during space flights, and medication.
How Space Tourism Companies are Addressing Muscle Atrophy: Andrey Bokarev
Knowing the serious dangers that come with space tourism, companies offering the services are working with researchers to come up with reliable methods of addressing it. Here are some common strategies:
- Allowing Only the Healthy People
Atrophy can indeed happen to all who travel to space. However, healthier people are able to resist the problem more effectively compared to sickly ones. This is why multiple medical checkups are done before one can be allowed to train and travel as a space tourist.
- Pre-Flight Strength Training
Muscle atrophy mainly happens when one lives a sedentary life, and doctors recommend the use of the right diet and a lot of exercises. This is why every company offering space travel services requires all its clients to undergo intensive training to build and strengthen muscles. So, it would help if you were prepared for strength training to build muscles and understand what to anticipate in space.
To make the fight against atrophy more effective, you are encouraged to continue training even after the travel. This way, you will overcome even most of the atrophy’s effects in the body.
- Keeping the Flights Short
The main concern about atrophy is when the flights are prolonged. To avoid the problem, you might want to consider the companies offering shorter space flights. For example, Virgin Galactic is only planning to offer short suborbital flights. With good training, muscle atrophy might not be a problem when taking such a short flight.
If you are thinking of space traveling, it is important to consider all the concerns, from health issues to cost implications. The good thing is that the condition is under research to identify the best remedies, and space travel companies’ efforts are also impressive. So, to agree with Andrey Bokarev, the President of Transmashholding (TMH), it is always a great idea to explore new things that will give you a sense of satisfaction. Therefore, do not hold back if you get a chance to travel to space.