The effect of the Mk VI gravity-loading countermeasure Skinsuit (GLCS) upon maximal aerobic exercise (VO2max).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract


The Gravity Loading Countermeasure Skinsuit (GLCS) compresses the body in a manner analogous to Earth’s gravity via incremental increases in z-axis fibre tension. The current Mk VI GLCS is scheduled to be evaluated aboard the International Space Station during cycle ergometry, thus it is necessary to determine its effect on the cardiorespiratory responses to maximal aerobic exercise. Methods: In two separate visits, eight male subjects (29.6±5.6 yrs; 177.1±6.8 cm and 74.2±7.1 kg) completed a cycle ergometer maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) test (Bruce protocol) wearing either a custom-fabricated Mk VI GLCS or loose fitting clothing (GYM). Cardiorespiratory parameters (breath-by-breath; HR, Vtex, FR, TI/TTOT, VE, RER and VCO2), and subjective comfort, body control and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured. Student’s t-test for paired data and Wilcoxon test was used to analyse physiological (± SEM) and subjective data (±95% confidence intervals). Results: Absolute VO2max and the wattage required to achieve VO2max were not different between GLCS and GYM. . However, total work product (KiloWatts [KW]) was 12.6% lower in the GLCS (148.1KW ± 18.56 vs. 132KW ± 18.44 in GYM; p=0.001). No significant differences were found between attires in any cardiorespiratory variable at VO2max. Movement discomfort (p=0.02) and body control (p=0.02) - both with scales of 0-10 where 0 is least discomfort and most control - were increased in the GLCS at rest albeit remaining moderate, but were no different at VO2max, whereas RPE and thermal comfort were unaffected throughout. Discussion: The MK VI GLCS did not significantly affect VO2max, or wattage and cardiorespiratory reponses at VO2max, but reduced the total work performed. These data suggest that the GLCS does not inhibit oxygen uptake during maximal exercise, but may reduce the duration of work required to achieve a given physiological output.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Congress of Aviation and Space Medicine (ICASM), Oxford, UK
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015


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