Rocket Science To Help The Elderly

11 January 2004
Posted by Chris Smith.

No, I'm not proposing jet packs to get Granny up the stairs, but researcers at Manchester Metropolitan Universtiy think that methods invented to help astronauts cope with life in space might help the elderly. When astronauts are in space, they live under reduced gravity and are relatively inactive- something that leads to muscle wasting. This muscle loss is very similar to that seen as people get older, often because they are quite inactive. The Manchester team started testing older people twice a week on an exercise machine known as a yo-yo machine, designed for use in the International Space Station. They found a significant improvement in the physical performance of the people who had done the exercises, suggesting that the astronaut training really does work to improve strength, mobility and quality of life in the elderly.

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