Ever wondered what it takes to be an astronaut? NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins can tell you one major component is being healthy and fit. Now is your chance to learn more about astronaut fitness and training by following weekly posts and videos from Mike and the NASA team.
Hopkins has been preparing for his first spaceflight. He and his fellow Expedition 37 crew members are scheduled to launch to the International Space Station in September. Preparation has involved a variety of training – from spacecraft simulations to spacewalking. It also includes exercise to ensure the crew members are in shape for six months of living and working in space.
Mike was no stranger to staying fit and healthy before he was chosen as an astronaut candidate. He grew up on a farm outside of Richland, Mo., staying active by playing in the creeks and in the woods.
He started playing basketball in second grade but fell in love with football when he started playing in fourth grade. Hopkins continued playing football through college and became a captain for the Fighting Illini football team at the University of Illinois.
Now his many hobbies keep him active. He spends time skiing, backpacking, running and participating in CrossFit. “Staying fit and being physically active are important parts of my life,” said Hopkins.
All of these recreational interests have helped Mike prepare for astronaut training, but his dedication to fitness won’t stop once he launches to the space station.
During the mission crew members will exercise about two hours per day. Workout options on the station include a specially designed treadmill that uses a harness to hold the astronaut in place, an exercise bicycle and a one-of-a-kind resistive exercise device.
Exercise on station helps to limit changes to muscles, bones and the cardiovascular system during the astronauts’ extended stay in a microgravity environment. Scientists study how the human body reacts to the space environment, and this research helps with medical problems on Earth. It also helps the astronauts better adjust to gravity when they return to Earth.
Working out and staying healthy are important not only for astronauts but for everyone. That’s why Mike wants to create a fitness community to show how anyone can train like an astronaut.
“I want to motivate young people and adults to exercise and stay fit with me,” he said.
So let Mike help change up your fitness routine by introducing some new workout ideas and encouragement to keep you moving.
“Some days aren’t as easy as others. Some days it’s harder to get out of bed and make it to the gym when you’re a little bit tired, but those are probably the most important days to get into the gym,” said Hopkins. “When you can push through those days, that’s when you are getting better and getting healthier.”
He and his “Train Like An Astronaut” support team will be posting updates regularly – including his workout videos from space and fitness tips from astronaut trainers.
Anyone can follow along with Mike’s mission. Participation is easy and open to those of all ages.To get involved and “Train Like An Astronaut,” visit us on Facebook:
Share your photos, messages and workouts too. Who knows – he may even read them from space!
By joining the effort you will even be helping to motivate Mike to keep working out.“Just knowing that there is always someone else out there that is striving to get better and pushing themselves forces me to keep pushing as well,” he said.
For more information about his mission visit: www.nasa.gov/station
Follow on Twitter at @AstroIllini
Like “Train Like An Astronaut” on Facebook: http://facebook.com/trainastronaut
To learn about how NASA’s scientific research in space helps life on Earth, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/benefits/coolstation.html
Or follow @ISS_Research on Twitter