In case you’ve been living under a rock (or binge-watching Netflix) and have lost touch with the outside world and news, here’s a quick NASA-related recap: an astronaut named Scott Kelly returned last year from a year in space. Repeat: a year in space.
Details are now just starting to emerge on the different kinds of effects zero-gravity had on Kelly’s system, but while we were waiting for the full report, we did a bit of our own research on gravity’s effects on the human body (and trust us, it’s a doozy!).
So, if you are ever planning on visiting Mars, have ever wondered what space is like, and/or are an individual with any amount of curiosity about any subject whatsoever, keep reading to learn about why gravity is actually not the enemy!
Arguably two of the most worrisome effects zero-gravity has on the musculoskeletal system:
#1. Muscle Deterioration. If you think about some of the reasons why we earthlings need muscles in the first place – like to carry our heads up all day, and to lift our feet so we can walk from yoga class to the grocery store (or from the couch to a donut shop, depending) – then it’s pretty easy to see that we are constantly using them to fight gravity. Which explains why, when we eliminate gravity from the equation, we simply wouldn’t need most of our muscles anymore. And given enough time, when muscles aren’t used they unfortunately start to disappear. If you need proof of this, talk to any ex-NFL player.
#2. Change in Blood Pressure. You probably don’t often think about what your blood is up to at any given moment (unless you’ve been bingeing the latest zombie thriller on Netflix), so here’s the 411: your heart pumps out blood, which then gets distributed throughout your body but – thanks to gravity and bipedalism – tends to hang out in your feet. Now, take out gravity, and your blood has no reason to sit and chat with your feet anymore. Instead, it will get evenly distributed throughout your whole body, including your brain. And when your brain receives too much blood, it will send a signal to your heart to slow down, causing a steady decrease in blood pressure.
For more information about your orthopedic system, contact any of the Healthpointe clinics, such as the Garden Grove clinic near Stanton, Santa Ana, and Westminster.
Healthpointe is a healthcare organization offering services throughout Southern California (Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, and Riverside County) including Colton by Rialto, Bloomington, San Bernardino, Loma Linda, Highgrove, and Grand Terrace. We provide care for private patients, injured workers, urgent care, personal injuries, and athletes. For more information, visit Healthpointe.net.