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The Gravity-Loading countermeasure Skinsuit (GLCS) and its effect upon aerobic exercise performance

Attias, J and Philip, ATC and Waldie, J and Russomano, T and Simon, NE and David, AG (2017) The Gravity-Loading countermeasure Skinsuit (GLCS) and its effect upon aerobic exercise performance. Acta Astronautica, 132. pp. 111-116. ISSN 0094-5765


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© 2016 IAA The Russian Pingvin suit is employed as a countermeasure to musculoskeletal atrophy in microgravity, though its 2-stage loading regime is poorly tolerated. The Gravity-Loading Countermeasure Skinsuit (GLCS) has been devised to comfortably compress the body via incrementally increasing longitudinal elastic-fibre tensions from the shoulders to the feet. We tested whether the Mk III GLCS was a feasible adjunct to sub-maximal aerobic exercise and resulting VO2Max predictions. Eight healthy subjects (5♂, 28±6 yr) performed cycle ergometry at 75% VO2Max (derived from an Astrand-Rhyming protocol) whilst wearing a GLCS and gym clothing (GYM). Ventilatory parameters, heart rate (HR), core temperature (TC), and blood lactate (BL) were recorded along with subjective perceived exertion, thermal comfort, movement discomfort and body control. Physiological and subjective responses were compared over TIME and between GYM and GLCS (ATTIRE) with 2-way repeated measures ANOVA and Wilcoxon tests respectively. Resultant VO2Max predictions were compared with paired t-tests between ATTIRE. The GLCS induced greater initial exercise ventilatory responses which stabilised by 20 min. HR and TC continued to rise from 5 min irrespective of ATTIRE, whereas BL was greater in the GLCS at 20 min. Predicted VO2Max did not differ with ATTIRE, though some observed differences in HR were noteworthy. All subjective ratings were exacerbated in the GLCS. Despite increased perception of workload and initial ventilatory augmentations, submaximal exercise performance was not impeded. Whilst predicted VO2Max did not differ, determination of actual VO2Max in the GLCS is warranted due to apparent modulation of the linear HR-VO2 relationship. The GLCS may be a feasible adjunct to exercise and potential countermeasure to unloaded-induced physiological deconditioning on Earth or in space.

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