Why is nutrition and exercise important in space?

Space travel requires a unique set of conditions for survival, including the proper nutrition and exercise for astronauts. In order to maintain optimal health, it’s important to understand why nutrition and exercise are so important in space. In this article we will explore how astronauts maintain their health and well-being while in space.

Why is Nutrition Important in Space?

The human body is exposed to a number of factors that can have a negative impact on health while in space. These factors include microgravity, radiation, and isolation. Proper nutrition is key to helping astronauts combat these factors and maintain their health while in space.

The lack of gravity in space can lead to a loss of bone density. Adequate calcium and vitamin D intake can help prevent this. Additionally, the high-stress environment of space travel can increase the risk of nutrient deficiencies. This makes it even more important for astronauts to eat a balanced diet.

Why is Exercising in Space Essential for Astronauts?

Just as proper nutrition is important for maintaining health in space, regular exercise is essential to prevent muscle and bone loss. In the absence of gravity, astronauts experience a reduction in bone density and muscle mass. This can lead to an increased risk of fractures and other injuries.

Exercise can help astronauts maintain their physical and mental health. It can help in preventing blood pressure changes, maintaining fluid balance, and improving organ function. Additionally, exercise can help prevent depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances that can arise from the high-stress environment of space travel.

What exercise can you do in space?

There are three main exercise devices available onboard the ISS.

ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device) is an exercise machine aboard the International Space Station (ISS). It is designed to counteract the effects of microgravity on the body. It uses vacuum cylinders to provide resistance for exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses. This device helps astronauts maintain their muscle strength and prevent muscle loss while in space.

The Treadmill aboard the ISS is designed to provide astronauts with a low-impact exercise option while in microgravity. Straps are used to secure the astronaut in place. This allows them to walk or run in a weightless environment. This helps maintain cardiovascular fitness and prevents blood pressure changes that can occur in microgravity.

The Cycle Ergometer is a stationary exercise bike that is also aboard the ISS. It is used for resistance training and cardio exercises to maintain muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness. The cycle ergometer allows astronauts to perform a low-impact exercise that is easy to adjust and monitor. It is an essential part of the astronauts’ exercise routine in space.

How can Humans Maintain Proper Nutrition and Exercise in Space?

To maintain proper nutrition and exercise in space, astronauts engage in a variety of activities. They also consume specially designed foods that provide the necessary nutrients and energy to sustain life in space.

Astronauts are provided with a variety of food options, including freeze-dried, dehydrated, and thermostabilized foods. These foods are selected based on their nutritional value, taste, and ease of preparation. The food is packaged in a compact form, which makes it easier to transport and store aboard the spacecraft.

Additionally, astronauts must consume the recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals to support their immune system, maintain healthy bones and muscles, and to combat the effects of radiation exposure. Consuming foods such as leafy greens, nuts, and dairy products can help with this. These foods are rich in essential vitamins and minerals.


In conclusion, proper nutrition and exercise are critical factors for ensuring the health and well-being of astronauts during space travel. By consuming a balanced diet and engaging in regular exercise, astronauts can maintain their physical and mental health and minimize the risks associated with space travel.