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Videos of people on the ISS make it clear how little they need to bend or stretch, and how their joints stay in their neutral position most of the time as they float around - elbows, knees and hips slightly flexed, shoulders lifted towards their heads. It seems to me that if they didn't specifically stretch to ensure that their joints don't tighten up, by the time they got back to Earth they would have lost a lot of flexibility.

A quick search doesn't show anything in particular in the ISS exercise routines regarding stretching. Is it something the crew just does on their own now and then, as the urge arises? Has loss of flexibility ever been noted?

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    $\begingroup$ Seems to me reasonable that with muscle atrophy and bone density loss in microgravity, and the loss of pressure gradient, fluids could more easily build up in joints which would affect flexibility. Fair question, I doubt their exercise regime can substitute gravity for every joint in a human body. I'd be interested to see statistics on knee and elbow injuries pre and post flight. $\endgroup$ – TildalWave Jan 25 '16 at 20:45
  • $\begingroup$ Preliminary PubMed stuff: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26099126 ; ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21265081; more on rats there. Terms used. $\endgroup$ – Deer Hunter Jan 26 '16 at 7:37
  • $\begingroup$ Also relevant: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15705722 $\endgroup$ – called2voyage Apr 6 '16 at 19:01

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