The sojourn of astronauts in space elicits substantial deconditioning effects within the cardiovascular system and equally great losses of bone and muscle mass. Astronauts share these problems with the older population, and especially with the bed-ridden and the immobilised. An aspect that becomes more important, in particular in the light of the demographic development in Germany. Even the young generation is affected. The incurring costs of akinesia and related disorders, such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular events, stroke and cancer are immense.
Hence, both the astronaut as well as immobilised and elderly people warrant the developing of efficient countermeasures. Accordingly, preventive interventions need to be identified in order mitigate or even prevent the negative side-effects of immobilisation.
:enviFit („:envihab – Fitness“) is an experimental station that is organized in different modules, and in which physiological alterations such as immobilisation and microgravity can be simulated. One way to do this is by 6° head-down-tilt bed-rest studies. Another method is the appliacation of dry water immersion which means that the test persons float on a water-impermeable canvas cover and thus becomes ‘weightless’.