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Watch astronaut’s basketball workout days after returning from space

After floating about the International Space Station (ISS) for six months, astronaut Thomas Pesquet is once again getting used to living with the pull of Earth’s gravity.

Pesquet returned from the space station with three other astronauts last week as part of SpaceX’s Crew-2 mission.

The Frenchman, who has now experienced two space missions during his career, this week tweeted a couple of videos showing him performing various exercises to help his body properly adjust to life back on Earth.

Recorded at a European Space Agency (ESA) facility in France, one of the clips (below) shows Pesquet pulling a few basketball moves while jogging between various objects in a gentle workout designed to help him rebuild his strength and balance.

Après 6 mois d’impesanteur, on reprend très vite le chemin de la salle de sport pour récupérer sens de l’équilibre et coordination, et consolider le corps 🦴💪 Les exercices qui paraissaient simples avant la mission ne le sont plus autant après ! #MondayMotivation #MissionAlpha

— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) November 15, 2021

In another clip (below), the ESA astronaut is shown stepping rapidly across the floor while swinging a rope in a test of his balance and coordination.

“Back to the gym!” Pesquet tweeted, adding: “Despite exercising two hours a day in space, six months of weightlessness made our muscles lazy, our bones weaker and our sense of balance is a bit … off. The exercises that felt easy before the mission are now a little more difficult!”

Back to the gym! Despite exercising two hours a day in space, six months of weightlessness made our muscles 💪 lazy , our bones 🦴 weaker and our sense of balance 🛹 is a bit… off. The exercises that felt easy before the mission are now a little more difficult! #MissionAlpha

— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) November 15, 2021

As Pesquet points out, life in microgravity conditions over an extended period of time causes various changes within the body, including a decrease in bone density and muscle mass. The crew uses different kinds of exercise equipment to maintain general fitness, but the unique conditions mean that a degree of physical deterioration is inevitable.

And returning to Earth’s gravitational pull can also cause some unusual surprises for astronauts. Speaking several years ago shortly after returning from one of his missions to the space station, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield said: “Right after I landed, I could feel the weight of my lips and tongue, and I had to change how I was talking.”

Hadfield added: “I hadn’t realized that I learned to talk with a weightless tongue.”

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Trevor Mogg
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