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Why do astronauts in space need to exercise?

Since astronauts in orbit around the earth don't feel the effects of gravity, they don't have to use their muscles as much during normal, everyday activities. For example, every time you take a step on earth you have to lift your entire body weight up with your legs. In orbit, however, where astronauts experience "weightlessness", it takes almost no effort to propel yourself forward. So astronauts have to intentionally exercise a lot or else they will get out of shape.

For more information about why and how astronauts exercise, have a look at this page or this page.

November 2002, Dave Rothstein (more by Dave Rothstein) (Like this Answer)

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