THURSDAY, February 20, 2020 (News of American Heart Association) – On February 20, 1962, John Glenn made history when he became the first American to orbit the Earth.
About half an hour after his debut, somewhere on Zanzibar, he made a little of the lesser known history by becoming the first to use exercise equipment in space.
"It's called the MA-6 airplane exercise equipment," said space veteran James A. Pawelchot, associate professor of physiology and kinesiology at Pennsylvania State University, University of Pennsylvania. "And basically, it's a strap that is connected to the bungee cord and the handle."
Glenn put his leg through the strap and exercised, while his pulse and blood pressure were measured.
That seems like a small caption for a big adventure. But it shows that from Glenn's early days, short flights, we asked, "How does the cardiovascular system adapt? And can we keep it healthy?" Mr. Pawelchot said.
The answer to that second question provides lessons for those of us who may never get closer to space than an episode of "Star Trek". In short, no matter where you are, if you want to live long and prosper, you should stay active.
"That's what we take for granted," but not when Glenn flew, Pawelchot said. "In many ways our development in space has paralleled the way we think about cardiovascular health here on the ground."
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