DIY Podcast: Fitness Audio Clips Transcript
International Space Station Expedition 14 Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria and Flight Engineer Sunita Williams discuss staying fit in space. The following text is the transcript of their audio clips.

1-a. (Sunita Williams) Hi. Welcome to the International Space Station gym. How you guys doing today? My name is Suni Williams, and I'm living here as part of the Expedition 14 crew up on the International Space Station for about six months.

2-a. (Sunita Williams) Part of the issue with living in space for six months is we encounter some bone and muscle loss. And so a big part of our day is spent working out -- about two hours every day -- to make sure that we can work on our bone and muscle mass.

3-a. (Sunita Williams) I was working on the bicycle. It's called a CEVIS -- cycle ergometer vibration isolation system (Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization). It's sort of floating on the wall. That way it doesn't impart too many loads into the space station as we're floating above the Earth 200 to 250 miles at 17,500 miles an hour. We don't want to make too much input into the station as it's moving so fast. The bicycle works with a computer here that has protocols that we load so we can ride for about 30 to 40 minutes at different weight-bearing loads.

4-a. (Sunita Williams) Some of the things we encounter are bone and muscle loss. Not only our muscles like in our legs and our arms, which you think about all the time, but also your internal muscles -- the muscles that hold up your organs. A good example of that is also your heart is a big muscle. So one of the reasons we do this aerobic exercise is to make sure that we exercise our heart and keep it in good shape.

5-a. (Sunita Williams) This machine that we're using -- it doesn't really have weight on it. It's a system of essentially rubber bands that are tied together or meshed together. And as we increase the number of rubber bands, we increase the resistance. And we can use this machine to do all sorts of exercises like bench press, and now a dead lift. You can switch back and forth to work all sorts of muscles in your body.

6-a. (Sunita Williams) One of the ways to adjust the weights on the machine is increase the cam. There's a number that corresponds to the amount of resistance that's added each time you turn the cam.

7-a. (Michael Lopez-Alegria) We do a lot of lower body exercise -- much more than upper body -- because on Earth, of course, you spend a lot of your time walking around. But up here on station, my shoes look pretty clean on the bottom because they've never really stepped on anything. And so we need to try to stimulate the muscles and the bone in your spinal column -- the things that support your weight on an everyday basis on Earth that don't get that sort of stimulation in space. So we spend a lot of time doing squats and dead lifts, both straight-leg dead lifts, single-leg squats and two-leg squats. And then the upper body stuff is a little bit up to us. We can do bench press. We can do tricep exercises, bicep exercises, lat pulls. So we have quite a bit of variation we can do. It's a little bit like the universal machine, only based on rubber bands instead of weights.

8-a. (Michael Lopez-Alegria) The physical fitness experts on the ground have the ability to monitor some of the equipment in real time as well as through files that we download.

9-a. (Michael Lopez-Alegria) We can send down data that include the workload, the rpm and the heart rate that we're developing. We can judge -- and they can help us monitor -- our fitness and change our workout, as necessary, to make it most effective.

10-a. (Michael Lopez-Alegria) It takes a little while at first to get used to how this treadmill works because it is a little tricky when it's floating in space. But after just a few days, people usually get the hang of it. You can walk on it, climb on it. You can also use it in passive mode where there is no motor to grab the belt, but you have to actually walk. It's a little bit more like walking uphill. We typically do that toward the end of the mission when walking is going to become really important for us again after our return to Earth.

11-a. (Sunita Williams) Working out is a part of our daily lives up here because we need to do it to make sure we'll be able to come back to Earth and be able to walk around without any problems.

12-a. (Sunita Williams) This is not for only our health, but it's also experiment and research for the future. Because if we're going to be sending you guys back to the moon or to Mars, you're going to have to be able to get there, and be able to work when you get there and walk around, and be able to put on a 300-pound spacesuit, and be able to walk around and have no problems. So we're just stepping stones for the work that you guys are going to do in the future.

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