Astronaut training is, by its very nature, a very grueling process on a mental and physical level. The physical fitness program for spaceflight focuses on simulating conditions you will encounter in space. Candidates for the astronaut program go through a two-year training program that pushes human beings to physical and mental limits. Read on for a description of astronaut flight training for a female senior.
Much of the training focuses on endurance, strength, and ways to maintain core fitness. The lack of gravity in space makes it extremely difficult to maintain the physical structure needed for your body to function on Earth. Muscles and bones need the continual challenge gravity provides. Lack of gravitational force in space equates to no natural resistance available to challenge your muscles and bones.
Astronauts currently train for assignment to the International Space Station (ISS). Those missions typically last for one year. Space crews on flights lasting only 12 to 14 days experience a noticeable loss of bone density and muscle mass. Core building and increasing bone density are critical components of any physical fitness program for spaceflight
If this information did not send you running, then you may have what it takes to complete an astronaut flight training program. No worries about being a senior female. There are no limitations or restrictions on age, so it does not matter how old you are. Frankly, you are never too old to benefit from the type of physical training astronauts get to do. To get the maximum results in the short period before reporting for the two-year astronaut flight training program, a top-notch personal trainer is your best option. Locate certified personal trainers near you in the iTrainer Directory.
If you’re a senior female who is already in excellent physical condition, a 12-week training program will supplement your usual exercise program. Having access to a treadmill 24 hours a day is important for this intense fitness training. Your local gym may provide this kind of accessibility. Or, you may consider purchasing a treadmill. Refer to this article for guidance when searching for the right treadmill for you.
During heavy physical exercise, you will lose fluid. Consequently, it is important to start hydrating your body before exercise begins. Once you start exercising, do not wait until thirst hits before taking frequent drinks of water. Water is critical for blood oxygenation. Moreover, your muscles will seize and cramp without adequate fluid.
Warm-ups, including jumping rope, light jogging and jumping jacks will precede each training routine. Additionally, cool-down routines will conclude all fitness sessions.
Launch Your 12-Week Astronaut Flight Training for a Senior Female
Week 1: Take the Treadmill to Space
Taking the Treadmill to Space, also referenced as cardiovascular health training, is your first step toward developing the fitness essential for astronaut flight training. Programming your treadmill with a running program with variety will be a priority for your personal trainer.
Boredom is ever present during the astronaut’s time in space. Something as simple as variety in treadmill training can help an astronaut’s mental outlook. Music can provide an inspirational tone to exercise routines. Download your favorite music and listen to it when exercising.
Interval, incline, and steady running is your training plan this week. Starting with 20-minute routines, you will end the week running at least 90 minutes without stopping by the end of the week.
What this works: Cardiovascular system, leg muscles, back muscles, hips.
Week 2: Cycle to the Stars
Cycling to the Stars, as opposed to seeing stars, promotes safety over outdoor cycling.
The stationary bike exercise is the agenda for week two. Unquestionably, owning a personal stationary bicycle is ideal. Costs may interfere with idealism. If so, consider renting one for the next 11 weeks.
Go for variety. Include riotous races on flat surfaces, intervals of calf-burning trudges uphill, and exercises dodging obstacles on the downhill leg. The week will begin with a 20-minute routine and end with at least a 90-minute ride.
What this works: Cardio system, leg and back muscles, hips.
Week 3: Embrace Endurance
Embracing Endurance, otherwise called building sustained cardiovascular health is week three’s goal.
Combinations can get explosive results. Therefore, your trainer will use both the treadmill and the stationary bike for optimal exercise results. Each machine has new programs for speed training, intervals, and widely varied routines. Ramping up your routine is in order with only nine weeks remaining before the start of astronaut flight training candidate school.
Week three’s schedule starts with 30 minutes on each device and ends with at least a 90-minute routine on both the treadmill and bike. Three hours of cardio conditioning is a mere blink in time compared to astronaut candidate school.
What this works: Cardio system, back, hips and leg muscles.
Week 4: Angle for Agility and Crouch for Coordination
Angling for Agility and Crouching for Coordination are in store this week. Pushups on steroids are a good description for this knee to elbow variation on the exercise.
You will begin lying face down on the ground. Next, place your hands flat on the floor and push your body up until your arms are straight but not locked. Hands should line up with shoulders, and only hands and toes should touch the ground. Next, bring your right knee up toward your right elbow. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Lower your body until your elbows are aligned with your arms at a 90ᵒ angle, still touching the ground only with your hands and toes.
Push your body up again, and this time bring your left knee up toward your left elbow. Hold for 30 seconds before lowering your body. Repeat the cycle three times.
Spend 30 minutes exercising on the treadmill or bike. Repeat the push-up routine with the knee to elbow exercise. Repeat three rotations.
End of week four will see your agility increased to holding the knee toward elbow pushup for 90 seconds. Repeat eight times on each side, alternating with the treadmill or bike to complete six rotations.
What this works: Agility, coordination, cardio system, gluteus maximus, abdominal muscles, arms, shoulders, hips, legs and back.
Week 5: Challenge Curve Balls
Challenging Curve Balls during week five includes strength-building exercises to improve balance and response time.
Your trainer will act as your partner for this routine. You will stand on one leg while throwing and catching a medicine ball with your partner.
You will start the week doing this exercise three times on each leg in 30-second intervals. Spend 30 minutes doing treadmill or bike routines. Repeat the one-legged medicine ball throw-and-catch exercises again. Repeat three rotations.
By the end of week five, your balance will improve, allowing you to do the medicine ball routine eight times on each leg for 90-second intervals. Repeat eight times on each side, alternating with the treadmill or bike to complete six rotations.
What this works: Balance strength, response and reaction time, cardio system, arms, back, leg and hips
Week 6: Knock Some Sense to Keep Bones Dense
Knocking Some Sense to Keep Bones Dense is this week’s plan. Kettlebell exercises are valuable training tools.
After assessing your current strength status, your trainer will provide a weighted kettlebell for this bone density building exercise.
You will begin this exercise standing upright. Next, you will squat and lift the kettlebell using your leg muscles. Once standing upright with the kettlebell, you will squat down and swing it from between your legs until you reach chest height. Hold that position for 60 seconds. Repeat three times.
Allot 30 minutes for bike or treadmill exercises, and then complete the kettlebell routine three times, holding it at chest height for 60 seconds each time. Repeat three rotations.
By the end of week six, your trainer has increased the kettlebell weight, your strength is up, and you are able to hold kettlebell chest high for 90 seconds while rapidly repeating for eight times. Repeat eight times on each side, alternating with the treadmill or bike to complete six rotations.
What this works: Increases bone density, strength, cardio system, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, back, legs, shoulders, arms.
Week 7: Protect Your Core
Protect Your Core by Plugging Planks is the goal now. Core strengthening is the highest priority of the physical fitness program for spaceflight. Front and Lateral Planks meet this requirement.
Pushups begin the correct position for planks. Once your body is off the ground, leaving only hands and toes touching the ground, you will lower your arms 90 degrees, resting your weight on your forearms. Forearms should align with shoulders, leaving your body in a straight line with your toes. Now, hold this position for one minute.
Next, rotate your body to one side, resting your weight on one forearm, and hold that position for one minute. This is called a lateral plank. Finally, rotate your body to the other side, rest your weight on one forearm, and hold for one minute. Repeat each position three times.
Exercise on the treadmill or bike for 30 minutes, and then repeat each plank position three times holding each for 30 seconds. Alternate with the bike or treadmill for three rotations.
You should improve to holding each plank position for three minutes, then repeating eight times before alternating with the treadmill or bike for 30 minutes. Repeat eight times on each side, alternating with the treadmill or bike to complete six rotations.
What this works: Entire body core strength, cardio health; works out all major muscle groups, especially oblique muscles.
Week 8: Crunch for Core Cooperation
Crunching for Core Cooperation introduces the topic for week eight. Astronauts practice abdominal crunches nearly every day while stationed in space.
These crunches work both the abdominal and oblique muscles. Begin by lying on your back. Bend your knees while keeping your feet flat on the floor. Lace your fingers loosely behind your head. Without pulling on your head, curl your body and bring your right elbow and shoulder toward your left knee. At the same time, bring your left knee toward your right shoulder. Hold this position for 30 seconds. The overall effect should result in trying to touch your right elbow to your left knee.
Without uncurling completely, relax and repeat the exercise with the left elbow to the right knee. Repeat 10 times on each side.
Alternate crunches with 30-minute intervals on the bike or treadmill. Complete three full rotations.
By week’s end, your goal will result in holding the elbow to the opposite knee crunch for one minute, repeating 25 times with both sides. Repeat eight times on each side, alternating with the treadmill or bike to complete six rotations.
What this works: Entire body core strength, cardio health; works out all major muscle groups, especially abdominal and oblique muscles.
Week 9: Swim for Safety
Swimming for Safety sets the stage this week. All candidates for astronaut flight training should know how to swim before arriving for the two-year program.
You will start this part of training in a swimming pool. Following your trainer’s directive, you will swim six lengths of the pool and back, or three laps, without stopping. After a short rest period to drink water and catch your breath, you will swim six laps without stopping or touching the bottom of the pool. Once you have had a chance to rest for a few minutes and drink more water, you will complete a final set of 10 laps without stopping.
A short series of strength and core exercises, alternated with short periods on the treadmill or bike will complete each training day this week.
Gradually the laps will increase until each set is doubled by week’s end.
What this works: Whole body workout; muscle mass increase, cardio and lungs, agility, endurance and strength
Week 10: Tread Through Time and Space
Treading Through Time and Space ushers in week 10.
For the second week, you will begin exercises in the swimming pool. After a short series of laps for warm-up purposes, you will proceed to the deep end of the pool. Once there, you will tread water for five minutes without stopping. Treading water is accomplished by holding your arms straight out to either side of the body. In a continuous motion, you will move your arms in slow, figure-eight movements while cupping your hands. Your legs will move as if pedaling a bicycle. Neither of these is a swift movement. You perform them to stay afloat as long as possible.
Take a rest break to drink water, and then swim five laps before returning to the deep end for another five-minute round treading water. Repeat for three rotations.
A short series of strength and core exercises, alternated with short periods on the treadmill or bike will complete each training day this week.
Gradually, treading water will increase to 30 minutes by the end of the week.
What this works: Whole body workout; muscle mass increase, cardio and lungs, agility, strength, and endurance.
Week 11: Swim and Tread
Swimming and Treading your way to the Space Station is week 11’s topic. Simulating a spacewalk while wearing a spacesuit is your aim for this week.
Begin at the swimming pool, where your trainer will hand over clothing and tennis shoes. Donning them, you will proceed to swim five laps. Next, you will swim directly to the deep end, where you will tread water for five minutes. Take a short break to drink water. Continue wearing wet clothing and shoes and repeat this cycle for two rotations.
You will end the week swimming 20 laps and treading water for 30 minutes. Complete four rotations. Clothing and shoes will be worn for each water activity.
NASA scientists determined that water best mimics the near-weightless environment of space. Furthermore, they discovered clothing and shoes provides a very similar sensation to maneuvering during a spacewalk while dressed in a spacesuit.
Finally, the purpose for the three weeks of water exercises is to prepare for candidate training. During your first month of training, all candidates are required to swim three lengths of a 25-meter pool. No stops are allowed. Next, wearing a flight suit and tennis shoes, each person must swim three lengths of the 25-meter pool with no stops. This is followed by treading water for 10 minutes while wearing a flight suit and shoes.
What this works: Whole body workout; muscle mass increase, cardio, lungs, agility, strength, endurance, mental outlook.
Week 12: Walk the Spacewalk
Walking the Spacewalk, Talking the Space Talk wraps up week 12. Rapidly moving through each exercise learned over the last 11 weeks will end your training. Astronauts on the space station are scheduled for two-and-a-half hours of exercise, six days a week. Nearly all astronauts choose to exercise more hours than scheduled, and they do it seven days a week. Still, upon return to Earth, they are unable to stand. Scientists studying this effect hope the results will help not only astronauts but elderly people as well who experience this on Earth.
You will begin your final week repeating each of the 11 exercises practiced. Four hours are allotted starting the week. Division of time will be determined jointly with your trainer. By the end of week 12, you will be in good enough condition to spend a total of six hours repeating all exercises.
What this works: Whole body workout; muscle mass increase, all major muscle groups, core strength targeting, cardio, lungs, agility, strength, endurance, mental outlook.
Congratulations on completing your 12-week program for astronaut flight training. Don’t stop your fantastic progress!