EXPERIMENTAL PROTOCOL FOR PART 1, MICROGRAVITY ENVIRONMENT ON AUTONOMIC CARDIOVASCULAR CONTROL AND SKELETAL MUSCLE CHARACTERISTICS
Mark will be placed on to an exercise programme that will be specific in preparing both muscle and cardiovascular function for microgravity and will aim to attenuate the negative effects of space flight on these 2 systems that may be encountered on return to gravity.
Two months prior to launch, specific eccentric exercises will be included into this exercise programme. These exercises will focus predominantly on the legs and will be performed twice a week. Five weeks before launch, a standardized exercise testing routine will also be introduced into the training programme. This routine will include physiological measurements such as hamstring flexibility, isokinetic hamstring and quadriceps muscle strength, quadriceps girth, body weight and an exercise test. The exercise test will include an orthostatic tolerance test, a cardiovascular response test and a recovery test. This testing protocol will be performed on one day each week for the 5 weeks leading up to the launch, but will exclude the week immediately prior to the launch.
The orthostatic tolerance test will involve 10 minutes of supine lying followed by 10 minutes of standing. During this time, heart rate variability will be recorded continuously using a heart rate monitor. Blood pressure will be measured at minutes 5 and minute 9 of lying, and at minutes 1, 5 and 9 of standing. Breathing frequency will be standardized at 12 breaths per minute in an attempt to exclude any confounding variables in heart rate response. Following this test will be a 5 minute recovery period. Immediately after this recovery period, Mark will be required to complete the cardiovascular exercise response test. This will be an interval test performed on an upright stationary cycle ergometer. The test will consist of 4 exercise sessions each lasting 2 minutes and separated by 1 minute of rest. The exercise intensity of the first exercise session will be 100W and will increase by 25 Watts for each exercise set. Heart rate will be measured continuously during the test and blood pressure will be recorded after 1 minute of exercise in each set. A rating of perceived exertion will be measured during each exercise set on a modified Borg scale of 1 to 10. Immediately following the fourth exercise set, will be a 10 minute recovery period. Heart rate will be measured continuously and blood pressure will be measured at minutes 1 and 9. Breathing will be standardized at 12 breaths per minute.
Exercise training sessions will continue as normal during this time.