Veterans

Exercise Machine Designed For Astronauts Trialled For Amputee Veterans

Former Royal Marine Lee Spencer was the first amputee and military veteran to trial the machine.

An exercise machine designed for astronauts in space is being trialled with amputee veterans. 

It is hoped the HIFI-m, which stands for High Frequency Impulse for Microgravity, could improve bone density and muscle mass.

The machine was invented by Pilates instructor John Kennett, to keep astronauts' muscles conditioned while they experienced zero gravity in space.

"Here on Earth, we've got 1G gravity pulling us down continuously and we don't think about it," he said.

"The moment we're extracted from that 1G load our bodies adapt... so when we're in zero gravity, astronauts will lose up to 1.5% of their bone mass density in a month if they do nothing.

"Jumping is a fundamental exercise which stresses the muscles and loads the skeletal system."

Former Royal Marine Lee Spencer was the first amputee and military veteran to trial the machine.

Lee Spencer broke two world records after rowing solo across the Atlantic in 2019 (Picture: Lee Spencer).

Mr Spencer had his right leg amputated below the knee following an accident on the M3 motorway in January 2014 but has not been deterred from an adventurous life since.

Known as the Rowing Marine, he crossed the Atlantic single-handedly in 2019, breaking two world records.

He told Forces News that he believes the HIFI-m could help with the recovery of injured veterans.

"I can absolutely see how that would have benefited me through building muscle density and muscle strength in the immediate aftermath of getting out of a wheelchair and transitioning to walking again," he said.

"To use the muscles that you use when you jump are very different to the muscles that you use when you're normally walking.

"I had forgotten what it was like.

"It was really good to get on something that's destined for the International Space Station, but an added bonus, I got to jump for the first time in seven years."