Sev­eral small steps for men in space­craft

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By CHEN DONG aboard Tian­gong II Chen Dong filed the di­ary as a spe­cial cor­re­spon­dent for Xin­hua News Agency on Tues­day.

To­day is Nov 7, my 20th day aboard Tian­gong II.

Many peo­ple have been ask­ing how Jing Haipeng, my fel­low as­tro­naut, and I ex­er­cise, and how dif­fer­ent it feels com­pared with ex­er­cis­ing on Earth.

We usu­ally do it ev­ery other day, and yes­ter­day we mainly did cable ex­er­cises as strength train­ing.

We have to move some ob­jects to the re­turn mod­ule be­fore we start our jour­ney backin 15days’ time, which­will be phys­i­cally de­mand­ing. To make mat­ters worse, we have be­come less fit dur­ing our jour­ney, so we need to shape up.

Our cable equip­ment is es­sen­tially a rub­ber band. I made it into a loop, hov­er­ing in midair, and tried to go through it. But I failed half­way and got it stuck around my body. Mean­while, Jing has increased his ex­er­cise in­ten­sity and even de­vel­oped a new train­ing method for his legs.

Yes­ter­day af­ter sup­per, we donned our “pen­guin suits” and walked for about 3 hours and 10 min­utes. Staff back on Earth in­sist we wear them while do­ing ex­er­cise, as it helps main­tain our mus­cle and body func­tions in a weight­less en­vi­ron­ment.

To­day, we fo­cused on cy­cling. As there’s only one bike, we have to al­ter­nate, with the other per­son do­ing cable ex­er­cises. Usu­ally, we do it for 30 min­utes. It is kind of tir­ing, as we don’t have as much strength as on Earth; it feels like rid­ing a bike in bed. How­ever, I felt great af­ter the morn­ing’s ex­er­cise.

And then there’s run­ning — our trip marks the first time Chi­nese have run in space!

Ac­tu­ally, we were un­able to adopt a proper run­ning pos­ture for the first two days. Jing fi­nally got the hang of it on the third day, and he was so ex­cited that he ran for an hour and then es­tab­lished con­tact with Earth just to tell them. Our rec­om­mended run­ning du­ra­tion is only 30 min­utes.

Mean­while, some stunts are easy in space, like som­er­saults and float­ing, while some mus­cles that we rarely use on Earth are more im­por­tant here. For ex­am­ple, the up­per arms are cru­cial for mov­ing since we need to grasp things to pull our­selves along.


As­tro­naut Jing Haipeng ex­er­cises on­board Tian­gong II.

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