Transcript for NASA Connect - Good Stress

Hi, I'm Lisa Leslie, pro basketball
player for the Los Angeles Sparks.

Though I'm very talented

I'm even more talented

I'm here because, like you, I
believe in the value of education,

its capabilities to
enlighten and enrich, and,

if we believe strong enough,
to transform our lives.

While playing pro basketball,
I earned my graduate degree

in business administration.

Please don't sell yourself short
by not performing well in school.

The key to life is
getting a good education,

and it starts when you're young.

On this episode of NASA
Connect, you'll learn all

about building better
muscles and bones.

And just like education, the
key to building better muscles

and bones also starts
when you are young.

So stay tuned as host
Jennifer Pulley takes you

on another exciting episode
of NASA Connect: "Good Stress:

Building Better Muscles and Bones."


Hi, I'm Jennifer Pulley,
and welcome to NASA Connect,

the show that connects you to math,

science, technology, and NASA.

I don't know how you deal with
stress after a long day at school,

but for me, after
work, I hit the gym.

You know, stress can be
caused by many things

such as being overworked,
mentally tired,

or just overwhelmed
by our daily lives.

In fact, how many
of you get stressed

out over an important test?

I get stressed when I don't
have enough time in the day

to complete all my work.

Does that mean that
stress is a bad thing?

While too much stress can
be damaging to the body,

too little of some kinds of
stress can also be harmful.

Let's look at three
types of stress.

The first is called
physical stress.

Activities like walking

and carrying textbooks
are physical stresses.

The second stress,
called mental stress,

involves activities like doing
math problems or taking quizzes.

The third type of stress
is called emotional stress.

It can be either good or bad,
like winning "Science Student

of the Year," or receiving
a bad grade on a test.

Our bodies, including muscles
and bones, require some physical

and mental stress, or good
stress, to be healthy and grow.

In today's program, we will
focus on good stress and how

to build better muscles and bones.

We will also learn how
NASA researchers collect

and analyze data to better
understand how our muscles

and bones are constantly changing,

especially in a microgravity

That's RJ.

He's a friend of mine who's an
up-and-coming cross-country star.

He had an injury a few months
ago, but I think his injury

and today's program
have a lot in common.

RJ, what's up?

Hey, Jen. I tore a
muscle in my leg,

and I've been immobilized
for a few months.

I'm trying to get
my leg strength back

to where it was before the injury.

Well, you know, it looks like you
were doing some rehabilitation.

How's that going?

I'm really struggling.

In fact, I've been struggling
for the past two weeks.

I'm a keeping a log of my
workouts, but I can't figure

out if my rehab's on target.

You mean you're having
trouble analyzing your data.

I think so.

Well, I think I can help
you and your leg out.

You know, data analysis
is the math focus today.

So you mean my leg is going to
be the focus of this program?

I guess you could look
at it that way, RJ.

To better understand
your leg injury, yes,

you do need to understand
data analysis.

Now, before we help RJ
out, there are a few things

that you need to know.

During the course of this
program, you will be asked

to answer several
inquiry-based questions.

After the questions
appear on the screen,

your teacher will pause the
program to allow you time to answer

and discuss the questions.

This is your time to explore
and become critical thinkers.

Students, working in
groups, take a few minutes

to answer the following questions:
Number one, what is data?

List some examples of data.

Number two, where
do data come from?

Number three, why do data
need to be interpreted?

Compare your answers
to all three questions

with other groups in your class.

It is now time to
pause the program.

So did you come up
with some good answers?

Good job. Data are
the facts, figures,

and other evidence gathered
through observations.

You might collect data on
the number of boys and girls

in your math class, the types
of animals in a local zoo,

or the average monthly
temperatures where you live.

Besides collecting your
own data, you might be able

to find data already collected
in journals, newspapers,

almanacs, or even the Internet.

Once you collect the data you
need, then you must interpret,

or analyze, that data.

At NASA, researchers are constantly
on the lookout for patterns

that can help them
understand how things work.

By analyzing data, they can
describe relationships between

and among numbers and the
scientific principles they

are investigating.

Before you analyze the data, it's
very helpful to arrange the results

in an organized way
such as a chart.

Graphing your results will help
you visualize your findings.

By organizing and
visualizing the data,

you can look for patterns
and trends.

For example, let's take
a look at RJ's data.

RJ, what do you have for us?

Well, the display shows the amount
of weight my right leg can lift

when doing a set of ten repetitions

on a leg-extension machine.

The data was taken over
a four-month period.

So it looks like your data are
organized by time and weight.

You know, a scatter plot would
be an awesome graph to use

to help you analyze this data.

A scatter plot?

Yeah, a scatter plot is a graph
that shows the relationship

between two variables,
like time and weight.

Scatter plots let you visually
determine whether the trend

in your data is positive,
negative, or none at all.

In your case, the two
variables are time and weight.

To make a scatter plot, we
plot these two variables

as ordered pairs.

Here's what the scatter
plot looks like.

The x-axis is the time, and the
y-axis is the amount of weight.

And don't forget, you always
need a title for your plot.

Can you determine a trend or
relationship in the scatter plot?

In other words, does the
data show a positive trend,

negative trend, or no trend at all?

This would be a great
time to pause the program

and discuss the relationship with
your fellow students and teachers.

It's now time to pause the program.

Well, RJ, what can you
determine from the plot?

I notice that my leg strength
increased between March and May.

But over the last month, my leg
strength has remained constant.

You know, RJ, you're right.

You did have a positive
trend for a couple of months.

But I wonder why you leveled off.

You know, I know someone at NASA
who is the lead astronaut strength,

conditioning, and
rehabilitation specialist.

Her name is Beth Shepherd,
and I bet she could help you

out with your rehab program.

Here's her contact information.

Give her a buzz.

Thanks, Jennifer,
for all your help,

especially learning
how to analyze data.

I'll talk to you later?

Okay. Let's see what he can learn
from Beth Shepherd about muscles,

bones, and rehabilitation.

Hi, RJ. Welcome to NASA
Johnson Space Center.

Thanks, Ms. Shepherd.

Please, call me Beth.

Okay, Beth.

Jennifer called to tell me
you're having some problems

with your rehab.

I sure am.

She thought maybe you could help.

Jennifer told me that you're
the lead astronaut strength,

conditioning, rehabilitation

That's right.

My job is to physically
prepare astronauts

for long-duration space missions
through cardiovascular exercise,

muscle strength and
endurance weight training,

as well as balance,
coordination, and agility drills.

It looks like I've come
to the right place.

Did you bring your data?

It's all right here in my Palm.

What does this graph represent?

The scatter plot represents
the amount

of weight my right leg can lift
when doing a set of ten repetitions

on a leg extension machine.

The data was taken over
a four-month period.

I need some help figuring out why I
leveled off during the past month.

What kind of muscle
tear did you have?

I remember my doctor telling me it
was some kind of skeletal muscle.

I'd never heard the term
"skeletal muscle" before.

Let me give you a crash course
on the basics of muscles.

Okay. This would be a great time
to pause the program to answer

and discuss the following
questions: What are some types

of muscles in your body?

Why do astronauts' muscles
weaken while working in space?

What are some ways to
take care of your muscles?

It is now time to
pause the program.

Your body has three different types
of muscle tissue: skeletal muscle,

smooth muscle, and cardiac muscle.

Skeletal muscles are attached
to the bones of your skeleton.

These muscles provide the
force that moves your bones.

They are also classified
as voluntary muscles,

meaning you have control over them.

Smooth muscles can be found
inside of many internal organs

of the body, such as the walls
of the stomach and blood vessels.

They are classified as involuntary
muscles, meaning they are not

under your conscious control.

The last type of muscle, cardiac
muscle, is found only in the heart.

It has characteristics of both
skeletal and smooth muscles.

I didn't realize there
are different types

of muscles in my body.

Well, I definitely know now

that I tore a skeletal
muscle in my right leg.

I have control over it.

Okay, let's get back
to your problem.

Now, you've been doing the same leg
extension exercise throughout the

entire rehab, right?

Yes, I have.

It's my favorite leg exercise.

In order to stimulate
growth or recovery,

you need to change your
workout every four to six weeks.

If you do the same workout
program over a long period of time,

your body reaches a plateau.

And in your case, you reached
a plateau a few weeks ago.

Gee, I'd better change
my workout plan.

Practice for the cross-country
team starts in a few weeks,

and I want to make it
to the state finals.

What do you suggest?

Well, RJ, I would suggest
adding some variety

to your exercise program, such as
bicycling, swimming, rollerblading,

and resistive training
with your own body weight.

That sounds pretty cool.

So, Beth, what kind of rehab
program do astronauts go through?

That's a great question, RJ.

When astronauts return from
long-duration space flights,

their muscles and bones are weaker.

For example, astronauts in
space routinely use their arms

to move around, but they
don't use their leg muscles

to resist gravity.

The lack of muscle
force can cause muscles

to weaken or reduce in size.

The main focus of my job is to
prevent muscle and bone loss,

starting with pre-flight and
in-flight exercise programs.

But because we haven't figured out
how to completely prevent muscle

and bone loss, the focus

of the post-flight
rehabilitation program is

to return the astronaut's
muscle and bone back

to their pre-flight baseline.

My team develops exercise programs

that include cardiovascular
conditioning, muscle strength

and endurance, and
flexibility and agility drills.

Each astronaut has an
individualized program,

because the amount of muscle

and bone loss differs
for each astronaut.

That's really cool.

That sounds a lot like what
I'm going through right now.

It is very similar to your
rehabilitation program.

In fact, one of our
astronauts, Leland Melvin,

is doing a little rehab of his own.

Hi, Mr. Melvin.

Hey, RJ. How're you doing?

Are you rehabbing
your leg, as well?

I sure am; I re-aggravated my
hamstring muscle while playing

pro football.

Wow, a pro football player.

How did you go from
being a football player

to being an astronaut?

I injured my hamstring
muscle while in training camp

with the Detroit Lions, but
it never fully recovered.

In addition to working
hard at sports,

I did well academically in school.

Too many young athletes
today don't realize

that sports can only
take you so far in life.

My cross-country coach
emphasizes that all the time.

It's good grades in school that
will make me excel in life.

Sounds like you have a great coach.

So does your rehab program
require mainly stretching?

That's only one component.

Exercise, or good stress,

is important for maintaining
both muscular strength

and flexibility, and for recovery.

When you stretch and
warm up thoroughly,

your muscles become more flexible.

This helps prepare muscles
for the work involved

in exercising and playing sports.

Also, warming up the
muscles can prevent injuries.

Like with your hamstring?

Exactly, RJ.

If you overwork or overstress
your muscles, you can strain

or pull them, and that's
a form of bad stress.

Now, I pulled my hamstring
really bad,

and that was some serious pain.

Don't let it happen to you.

And if you pull a muscle,
you need to let it rest

until the muscle heals.

I sure did learn a lot
about muscles today.

Thank you so much for your help.

Oh, and by the way, you
mentioned that your job deals

with muscle loss and bone loss.

Do you know any good bone
specialists I can talk to?

That's right; you said you
were immobilized for some time.

Why don't you go and see
Dr. Sognier here at NASA?

And she can tell you
all about bones.

Thank you again, and
have a great day.

Mr. Melvin, you better take
care of that hamstring muscle.

Hey, thanks, RJ.

Take care.

Before RJ speaks with Dr.
Sognier, I think it's time for you

to strengthen your muscles and
increase your muscle stamina.

The students at Oxon Hill Middle
School will preview this program's

hands-on activity,
entitled "Good Stress."

Hi! NASA Connect asked us
to show you this program's

hands-on activity.

In this activity, you will be
exploring the effects of stress

on the muscles in your hands.

And you will gain experience
collecting, analyzing,

and visually representing data.

You can download a copy
of the educators' guide

from the NASA Connect website.

Before you begin the activity, it's
a good idea to review how to make

and interpret three types
of plots: scatter plots,

box-and-whisker plots,
and stem-and-leaf plots.

Do you remember what
a scatter plot is?

A scatter plot is a graph

that displays two
variables as ordered pairs.

You can use a scatter plot

to determine how one
variable relates to another.

A box-and-whisker plot is a graph

that summarizes a data
set along a number line.

There is a box in the middle
and whiskers at either side.

The least value of the data set
determines the left whisker.

The greatest value of the data
set determines the right whisker.

You form the box using quartiles.

Quartiles divide the data
into four equal parts.

Box-and-whisker plots are
useful with very large data sets

or for making comparisons
between data sets.

A stem-and-leaf plot is a graph
that uses the digits of each number

to show the shape of the data.

Each data value is broken into a
stem, digit or digits on the left,

and a leaf, digit or
digits on the right.

A key is needed to explain what
your stem and leaves represent.

A stem-and-leaf plot can quickly
show the distribution of a data set

and retains each data value.

Your teacher can show you example
problems using different plots.

Now, are you ready to put
your math skills to the test?

Good. Now back to the activity.

Working in groups of
two, predict the number

of times you will be able to click
a clothespin between your thumb

and index finger in
your non-dominant hand

for a one-minute period.

Record your prediction.

Hold the clothespin in
your non-dominant hand

between your thumb
and index finger.

While your partner is watching
the timer, count the number

of times you are able to click the
clothespin in a one-minute period.

Record the result.

Rest for one minute,
then predict again

and repeat clicking the
clothespin in a one-minute period.

You need to complete three trials.

Be sure to hold the clothespin the
same way during every time trial.

Now switch roles with
your partner, and have him

or her conduct the exact same
experiment and record the results.

Each group will need to repeat
the experiment every other day

for two weeks.

Record your predictions
and results.

This is the conditioning period.

The stress induced by the
clothespin on the muscles

of the hand will cause the muscles

to become stronger
and gain stamina.

Make sure you record all your
data in a clear and organized way.

This will help you to answer
all the discussion questions

and to produce visual
representations of the data.

And don't forget to check out the
web activity for this program.

It can be downloaded from
the NASA Connect website.

Great job, you guys.

Oh, talk about working
your muscles.

Well, now that you have a preview

of this program's
hands-on activity,

it's time to pause
the program to see

if you can increase your
muscle strength and stamina.

So how was the activity?

You'll probably be happy not

to see another clothespin
for a while, huh?

Hopefully, it reinforced
the math concepts

that you learned earlier
in today's program.

Now let's review.

First, we introduced to you
different kinds of stress

and how physical stress can
actually be good stress.

Next, you learned about the
math concept of data analysis

and how graphing is a
powerful way to visualize data.

Finally, Beth Shepherd and Leland
Melvin helped RJ and you learn

about taking care of your muscles.

Let's turn our attention to bones
now and see what we can learn

about our body's skeletal system.

Let's catch up with
RJ and Dr. Sognier.

[Knocking] Dr. Sognier?

Hi, RJ. Come on in.

Take a seat.

I understand you want to
learn more about bones,

their structure and function.

I sure do.

I want to be the best
cross-country runner in my state,

and knowing more about my body
might actually be an advantage.

And after meeting Leland Melvin, I
want to learn more about astronauts

and how their bones can be
affected by space flight.

Sure, I'd love to discuss your
body's skeletal system with you.

Students, working in
groups, take a few minutes

to answer the following questions:
What does a skeletal system do?

It may be helpful
to sketch a picture.

List some types of bones in your
body and explain their function.

What are some ways to
keep you bones healthy?

How are the skeletal and
muscular systems related?

It's now time to pause the program.

Without the skeletal system,
your body would collapse.

Your skeleton has many functions:
it provides shape and support;

protects your internal organs
like your brain, heart, and lungs;

enables you to move;
produces red blood cells;

and stores important minerals
until your body needs them.

You have about 206
bones in your body.

For example, your arm consists
of the humerus, radius, and ulna.

Your leg consists of the femur,
patella, tibia, and fibula.

All your bones are connected
to the vertebral column,

or backbone, in some way.

I mentioned earlier that the
skeletal system enables you

to move.

Most of the body's bones
are associated with muscles.

The muscles pull on the
bones to make the body move.

So the muscles and bones in
our bodies work as a system?

That's a great observation, RJ.

That's why we can't just learn
about muscles without understanding

about bones and vice versa.

Bones also store minerals such
as calcium and phosphorus.

These minerals make the
bones strong and hard.

They are packed tightly together.

In fact, bones are so strong
that they can absorb more force

without breaking than
concrete or granite rock,

and bones are much, much lighter.

Is there anything else in bones
besides calcium and phosphorus?

Yes, bones also contain
living cells and tissues

such as blood and nerves.

As you grow, new bone
tissue is produced.

Even after you are
grown, your bones continue

to form new bone tissue.

So what does the inside
of a bone look like?

Well, for example, let's look
at a femur, or thigh bone.

The femur, which is the longest
bone, connects the pelvic bones

to the lower leg bones.

Notice the thin, tough
membrane that covers all

of the bone except the ends.

Blood vessels and nerves enter

and leave the bone
through the membrane.

Beneath the membrane is
a layer of compact bone,

which is hard and dense.

Just inside the compact bone
is a layer of spongy bone.

Spongy bone is found
in the backbone

and at the ends of the bones.

Like a sponge, spongy bone has
many small spaces within it.

This structure makes spongy
bone lightweight but strong.

The spaces in bone contain a soft
connective tissue called marrow.

Because my leg was immobilized for
a period of time, does that mean

that the bones in my
leg were affected?

Sure, your bones were affected
-- not in terms of size,

but in terms of bone density.

So, RJ, do you have any idea
how to keep your bones healthy?

Well, I believe good nutrition
and exercise is the key

to strong and healthy bones.

Way to go, RJ!

You're pretty good.

I learned about good
nutrition and exercise

from the NASA Connect program,

"Better Health From
Space to Earth."

Go to the NASA Connect
website to learn more.

You know, RJ, a well-balanced
diet contains enough calcium

and phosphorus to keep your bones
strong while they're still growing.

Meats, whole grains, and leafy
green vegetables are all excellent

sources of both minerals.

Dairy products, including milk,
are excellent sources of calcium.

Exercise is also important to help
bones become stronger and denser.

But you don't have
a problem with that,

because you work out all the time.

I also learned that it's
important to develop good nutrition

and exercise habits
when you're young.

That's true.

It's very important, because your
body's bones are still growing.

Beth Shepherd told me earlier that
astronauts' bones become weaker

and smaller after they
return from space.

How much do they lose?

Well, it depends on
a number of factors,

such as space flight duration,
amount of exercise in space,

nutrition, and body chemistry.

Most of the bone loss occurs in
the lower portion of the body,

primarily from weight-bearing

One study we conducted on
astronauts on the ISS showed

that the mean, or average, bone
mineral loss in the hip portion

of the femur, or spongy
bone, ranged from 1

to 2.5 percent per month,
about 1.35 percent per month

in the pelvic region,
and 1 percent per month

in the lower back,
or lumbar region.

That's really interesting.

So what happens when
astronauts go to Mars and beyond?

If an astronaut loses about
1percent of their bone mineral

in the lower back per month,
then that means that he

or she will lose roughly
12 percent over a year.

Since the current missions
haven't lasted that long,

we don't actually know, but
it is likely, and, therefore,

we need to conduct more
research to know for certain.

You know, the more we can learn
about how our bodies function

in space, the closer we get
to developing countermeasures

that will significantly reduce
the effects of bone loss

and muscle loss while in space.

Space research is
important, because it helps us

to understand how our bodies
function here on Earth.

It is another tool to
help us combat diseases

such as the bone disease

Thanks, Dr. Sognier.

If you ever need assistance with
your research, just call me.

I'll do that, RJ.

And good luck with your training.

Okay, take it easy.

I think we'll be hearing more
from RJ in the years to come,

and hopefully we'll be
hearing more from you.

Don't forget to check out this
program's student challenge,

which can be found on
the NASA Connect website.

Well, guys, that wraps up
another episode of NASA Connect.

We'd like to thank everyone who
helped make this program possible.

Got a comment, question,
or suggestion?

Well, then, email them to
"connect at"

So until next time,
stay connected to math,

science, technology, and NASA.

And remember the good
stress in life.

See you then.