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"Our residents actually have a lot in common with astronauts because space accelerates the normal aging process," said Mike Sharratt, RIA's executive director. "Astronauts lose muscle mass, bone density, and experience challenges with cardiovascular control of blood pressure that can result in instability and even fainting when they return to Earth. Many older adults experience similar challenges.
The good news is that the same countermeasures taken in space - daily physical exercise to prevent or slow this deterioration - are also very relevant for our population here on Earth."
Congratulations to The Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging (RIA) for winning an innovator's award from the International Council on Active Aging.
By participating in the Canadian Space agency's challenge to get all Canadians to walk 340 kilometres (the distance from Earth to the International Space Station) and adapting that goal to the needs of older adults in the 10 senior's communities in the study, the RIA was able to get folks moving. Part of this program has included adaptations for seniors who use a cane for assistance walking or even push themselves in a wheelchair.
This program was in place during Canadian astronaut Bob Thirk's six-month stay on the Space Station.