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Archive of QuestChat with:

Christine Wells, Exercise Physiology and Women's Sports

Karen Dodson, Rock Climbing, SCUBA Diving, Running, Bicycling

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 0 - 11:15:42 ]
Welcome to the chat room designated for the October 1 events for the Challenge Project. We will be chatting with Christine Wells and Karen Dodson. See their bios at: http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/space/challenge/team before joining the chat.

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 1 - 11:18:02 ]
Until just before 7:30am PDT/10:30am EDT we will begin posting questions to this room. You may ask your questions before that, but you will not see them. Don't worry, they're in a queue and will be answered during the scheduled chat.

[ DrWells - 5 - 07:16:11 ]
RE: [Anita-Sammett] Dr. Wells: What were your thoughts as you were entering the underwater capsule?
Hi Anita-My thoughts were this is GREAT!!! I've got to take this up as a sport. It is absolutely wonderful!!!.

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 6 - 07:16:12 ]
Looks like we're getting an early start. When you sign on, please let us know you're there.

[ DrWells - 8 - 07:25:08 ]
RE: [Rose-Rose/NASALifeSciences] I have two questions for the queue. First, Christine, can you expand on the comment you made in your biography about your next book, related to a 'lifestyle approach to menopause'? Second, you mention a mentor who was very important to you and highlight her ability to recognize what you needed to know to take your next step...and her matching ability to lead you to discover that information for yourself. Can you reveal her secret, or do you think it's an inborn 'knack' that can't be learned?
Hi Rose, I'll answer your first question first. I think that it might be an inborn knack. However, I also think that it stems from a focus on the individual--and a great deal of thought about that person. Unfortunately, too many teachers focus on the "subject" and not the individual they are trying to "teach" the subject. For the second question--my next book is tentatively called: Zestful Menopause: A life style approach. In that book, I focus on how we live our lives--in terms of physical activity or lack of it, how we eat, and our stress level. Only I don't that the customary approach to those 3 topics...I emphasize fun and play for physical activity, an "almost vegetarian" approach to food, and practicing "loving kindness" for stress reduction.

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 9 - 07:25:34 ]
For those of you who would like to "see" them as well as type to them, at the end of this chat we will do a short video feed. You may use http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/space/challenge/events/video.ram to access if you have already downloaded Real Player

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 10 - 07:26:19 ]
If you have not downloaded RealPlayer, you can get it from www.real.com

[ Celeste-Rose/NASALifeSciences - 12 - 07:29:20 ]
You seem to have aged successfully. What is your key?

[ Rose-Rose/NASALifeSciences - 13 - 07:30:17 ]
Along the lines of Celeste's question--at what point in your life did the focus of physiology and exercise become paramount to you--and was it first and academic interest or an applied interest?

[ Karen - 15 - 07:31:25 ]
RE: [Rose-Rose/NASALifeSciences] Karen, you mention a love of backpacking and camping, and a lot of other Challenge Project participants have also talked about their love of the outdoors and physical challenge. I wonder, seeing as this is a NASA Life Sciences Outreach activity, is there a previously unspoken synergy there? Perhaps being in touch with physicality and physical challenge is part of matching your abilities with the challenges of the natural world....and appreciating nature is part of loving and being part of our own planet. Maybe our next consciousness expanding frontier is taking that sensibility into space. Learning to get in touch with our physical abilities in the environment of space, and then expanding our world view to the solar system. Arduus ad astra (Struggling to the star).
The most noticable similarities I have found in the space analog and my outdoor activities is a need to understand your environment and an ability to be creative given limited resources. In the station, as well as in space, you can't run down to the corner store to get what you may need, you have to be able to trouble shoot and create right on the spot. The same holds true for climbing and backpacking, you make due with what you have and the more you understand your elements and materials, the safer and more adaptable you are.

[ Rose-Rose/NASALifeSciences - 16 - 07:33:57 ]
Of course, sometimes you still need outside help. Just yesterday, when Karen was Mission Commander and Tom Whittaker and I were in the station, we got a housecall from a diver (Krisstina) on how to configure and troubleshoot our telephone connection to the internet. We saw her first through our window, making hand signals, and later she came on up through the moon pool to help.

[ DrWells - 17 - 07:36:00 ]
RE: [Rose-Rose/NASALifeSciences] RE: [Anita-Sammett] Dr. Wells: What were your thoughts as you were entering the underwater capsule? Hi Anita-My thoughts were this is GREAT!!! I've got to take this up as a sport. It is absolutely wonderful!!!. So, are you up for the time commitment to do an open water dive certification? Perhaps next time we are able to put a mission together you'd like to try for aquanaut status?
Rose: I'd definitely like to get full scuba certification--or whatever it would take to be an aquanaut the next time you do this (I can't get used to this keyboard)!!

[ Anita-Sammett - 18 - 07:36:43 ]
Dr. Wells: Someone was made the observation that we have more water here then you do. Hum...

[ DrWells - 19 - 07:38:40 ]
RE: [Anita-Sammett] Dr. Wells: How long will you be under water and what if any "chores" will you be asked to do?
Anita: I've been underwater about an hour now--in the station. It is very tiny in here--the space is very much like that in a space capsule..almost everything is within reach. Some people were "swimming" around outside a little while ago and they were delighted to look in and see 'people.

[ Bonnie-Rose/NASALifeSciences - 22 - 07:40:36 ]
Anita--where are you? Where's here? Tell us a little bit yourself.

[ DrWells - 24 - 07:41:22 ]
RE: [Rose-Rose/NASALifeSciences] Your lifestyle approach would seem to be applicable to any age, how is it specially targeted to menopause?
Rose: You're right--and that's exactly the point of the book. But, I also make the point very strongly, that is is NEVER TOO LATE TO BEGIN A HEALTHFUL LIFESTYLE---and that includes the three aspects of life I mentioned in my first answer too you.

[ Anita-Sammett - 31 - 07:45:17 ]
Bonnie: I am in taos New Mexico and we have been having a lot of rain this week. I am an artist and friend of Christine. I also like to bicycle, hike, and am getting interested in kayaking now that we have a great river close by, the Rio Grande.

[ Rose-Rose/NASALifeSciences - 32 - 07:46:33 ]
Well, we WERE receiving just video until you ady to do the other. Meanwhile, we look forward to being introduced to Anita, and finding out where there is more water than here!

[ Rose-Rose/NASALifeSciences - 33 - 07:48:05 ]
Ah, Anita, I see our messages crossed. In addition to your interests in outdoor activities, do you have any interest in space or underwater exploration?

[ DrWells - 35 - 07:49:06 ]
RE: [DrWells] Rose: You're right--and that's exactly the point of the book. But, I also make the point very strongly, that is is NEVER TOO LATE TO BEGIN A HEALTHFUL LIFESTYLE---and that includes the three aspects of life I mentioned in my first answer too you.
Rose: Just realized I only answered part of your question. how does a healthful lifestyle--as I've so briefly described it relate to menopause. Ready? Along with the well known "symptoms" of menopause and many other things that affect your body and well-being. Exercise builds bone--and by being physically active you positively affect your bones. Like almost any other organ of your body, your bones response to stress. and, to get off the topic once more--that is something we are learning from space projects and also from this 'space analog' underwater. Our bones respond to stress--in space and underwater--we are in a microgravity (or no gravity) situation...our bone then are not subjected to stress and what happens is that we lose bone mineral. When sufficient bone mineral is lost, our bones become brittle and thin and weak.. That's osteoporosis--one of the real dangers of menopause. Even in space flight--in fact, especially in space flights--men and women MUST be physically active in order to "stress' their bones and prevent or at least retard bone mineral loss. (Sorry for all the tying errors.) There are many other ways that the lifestyle I describe in my next book relate to menopause--but you'll have to read the book.

[ Rose-Rose/NASALifeSciences - 36 - 07:49:50 ]
Karen, you and Anita seem to be well matched in your interests. How did YOU get started in NASA-type activities, and has it been worth the effort?

[ Anita-Sammett - 39 - 07:53:18 ]
I think it would be great to go into outer space and get a new perspective on where we live. However, I think that the seas offer so much more to see and understand. One thing I would like to do is scuba dive either the Great Barrier Reef of somewhere off the coasts of Mexico.

[ DrWells - 42 - 08:00:32 ]
My first contact with NASA Life Sciences was through the Life Sciences Data Archiving, (LSDA) in a nutshell, I write summaries of life science experiments that have been performed in space. These summaries along with other data can be found on our website as well as in the book, Life into Space. Before starting on this project, I never appreciated how much planning it takes to run an experiment in space. In addition to the planning, there are many factors that have to be accounted for in a microgravity experiment. For example, picture how you water a plant on the earth, you just pour the water over the plant and gravity takes care of it. In space, if you did that, the water would form into a little floating ball in the shuttle or space station. All these things have to be overcome which requires some pretty clever solutions....My work so far has been an amazing learning experience...and opportunity!

[ Rose-Rose/NASALifeSciences - 43 - 08:02:44 ]
I'm gonna take a wild guess and think that the last answer came from Karen, since I don't think that Dr. Wells has worked with the LSDA.

[ DrWells - 47 - 08:10:00 ]
RE: [Celeste-Rose/NASALifeSciences] Christine, why are our bodies designed to require physical stress?
Celeste---that is an excellent question. "Why"---it seems that all life requires some sort of 'stress." It's funny isn't it that 'stress' has become such a loaded word. Stress in a physiological sense is a change in homoeostatis...a change from something that the body (or a cell, tissue, organ) has fully adjusted to. Exercise--which is the topic that I am most familiar with includes all sorts of stresses---changes in pressure, changes in posture, changes in temperature, changes in weight distribution (on your bones and on your organs for example)...when we respond to stress the tissues grow--become stronger, more dense, they produce for enzymes, eliminate wastes, consume substrates (fuels)---in other words, your tissues, cells and organ "work." when that happens, we (our tissues, cells and organs) become better at "working." If we have such and such a range of response, by "practicing' we enlarge that range of response. That's why with physical activity we become better at responding--to changes in pressure, posture, weight distribution, etc. We become better at being humans--and all the things that humans do--if we practice doing those things.

[ DrWells - 50 - 08:16:48 ]
RE: [Anita-Sammett] Karen: What kind of cycling do you enjoy doing,? I really enjoy cross country touring. What a wonderful way to become one with the country.
Rose0----you ask great questions. Hope I can get all I want to say about that in a short response. Sometimes bone stress--such as pounding on hard payment as we run--can be too much on those bones. We literally wear them out. But we still need to stress the bone--just not the joint surfaces. Aquasize allows you to stress your bones--the muscles pulling on the bones will stress your bones--but allow you to avoid stressing your joints.

[ Karen - 51 - 08:20:50 ]
RE: [Anita-Sammett] Karen: What kind of cycling do you enjoy doing,? I really enjoy cross country touring. What a wonderful way to become one with the country.
I think our answers were switched around. Anita, I have done about 5 centuries and I loved them, they were hard but like anything you struggle with, very rewarding. I also like to mountain bike which I actually find very different from road biking. I would love to do a road bike trip across America someday.

[ Bonnie/Rose/Celeste-Rose/NASALifeSciences - 52 - 08:24:16 ]
We're still here, but we're letting you catch up with other questions. We're reading with interest, and discussing the evolution of life on Earth, the role of gravity in providing an environmental stressor, what the astronauts eat and whether or not they gain weight, etc., etc.

[ Karen - 55 - 08:28:26 ]
RE: [Anita-Sammett] Karen: for people to live for extended periods of time in space, what is the one major concern about the health of them. Is it the loss of bone mass, or something else?
Your right that bone loss and muscle loss are two major concerns regarding long term space travel. The specific bones that are affected are weight bearing bones such as the bones in your legs and back. The same holds true for your muscles. The muscles that atrophy are also weight bearing muscles, luckily through exercise, this process can be minimized. Spaceflight also affects peoples immune system, circulation and many other things, again this research can be read about on the life sciences data archive website, lsda.jsc.nasa.gov

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 59 - 08:31:36 ]
RE: [Rose-Rose/NASALifeSciences] Turning on RealPlayer slows down this machine something awful. We'd like to do it, but we won't be able to type any longer. So, we'll listen to the answer about how you both find time to fit in exercise, and maybe the two of you could dialogue for us about why our culture considers exercise as something the you 'fit' in --it always seems to come last in our priorities. Compare and contrast and discuss.
I can certainly understand that. I do believe there are enough questions here. Once they have introduced themselves online, they can probably focus on those.

[ RoseBonnieCeleste-Rose/NASALifeSciences - 61 - 08:34:04 ]
We will now go over to the Real Player window, and take your answers (remember the question about ACSM too!)

[ DrWells - 64 - 08:36:52 ]
RE: [Bonnie-Rose/NASALifeSciences] Karen and Christine-- How do you find TIME to do all those physical activities in your busy schedules?
You know that lack of time is the most common "excuse" for not being physically active--and that is especially so for women. My take on that is that it is not a reason, it is an excuse---and not really a very good one. I like to point out to people that you would never consider leaving home for work without dressing properly, without brushing your teeth, without washing your body. These are things we've learned are things that one just does---so why wouldn't you also not consider leaving home for work in the morning without exercising your body in some way. Our bodies were meant to move---our bodies require movement--we move or we become weak, our adaptive facilities are weakened, we lose muscle, we gain fat, we become "unfit" in many, many, many ways. To me, physical activity is a way of life. It is something more than I do to "just" exercise my body...I do it to enjoy life, to experience joy, and to worship---whatever I worship (better avoid that)---I would never consider NOT brushing my teeth, NOT bathing, or NOT being physically active.

[ Karen - 65 - 08:38:12 ]
We're going to switch over to a video cast now to catch up on some of these questions, so open up your realplayer and we'll see you there!

The balance of the questions were answered in video. Look for the archive of this webcast.

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 66 - 08:39:23 ]
[ Rose-Rose/NASALifeSciences - 37 - 07:52:57 ] I look forward to reading the book--can I send you my copy to have it autographed? Relating to your comment: "Exercise builds bone--and by being physically active you positively affect your bones. Like almost any other organ of your body, your bones response to stress. and, to get off the topic once more--that is something we are learning from space projects and also from this 'space analog' underwater. " Seems that there are quite a few exercise programs that are 'aquasize'--less wear and tear on the joints. Can you comment on how when that's appropriate, and when not--since you indicate that putting a stress on the bones is important.

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 69 - 08:42:30 ]
Bill-BillDodson asked: Karen:How do you rank running and scuba diving for general health and fitness?

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 70 - 08:43:16 ]
Anita-Sammett asked: Karen: If you could pick just one activity, what would it be? I know Chris would say SKIING!!! no doubt about it. I have cycled across this country. I was and still is one of the greatest things I have done.

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 71 - 08:44:08 ]
Bonnie-Rose/NASALifeSciences asked: Tell us something about the American College of Sports Medicine. You're here at the Challenge Project as a representative of that organization, which is partnered with NASA Life Sciences in presenting this Challenge, no?

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 72 - 08:45:21 ]
Bonnie-Rose/NASALifeSciences asked: What is you main internal motivation to continue the priority on exercise and physical activity?

[ Karen - 73 - 08:46:11 ]
RE: [Linda/NASAQuest] Bill-BillDodson asked: Karen:How do you rank running and scuba diving for general health and fitness?
I'm not sure if he can see the cast, but I'd say running is a more effective way to exercise, scuba is a great way to explore and staying in shape helps you get maximum benefit from that exploration.

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 74 - 08:46:12 ]
Celeste-Rose/NASALifeSciences asked: Christine- Your answers are very succinct, and at a very understandable level. Where did you learn your communication style?

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 75 - 08:47:18 ]
Rose-Rose/NASALifeSciences asked: Along the lines of exercise and motivation--are there studies that you're aware of that indicate how the solidity of a commitment to exercise is influenced by motivation. If a woman is exercising because someone else tells her she should, or for a specific health concern, or for general wellness, or for physical appearance--how do these match up with 'keeping with the program'?

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 77 - 08:50:18 ]
Rose-Rose/NASALifeSciences asked: Krisstina--how are Karen and Christine acclimatizing? Giving you any trouble? Or well-behaved.

[ Linda/NASAQuest - 78 - 08:51:46 ]
Thanks Karen and Christine! You were terrific! in chat and video.

[ Karen - 79 - 08:52:41 ]
The bottom line...Exercise feels great!


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