Astronaut burns off Christmas dinner calories with zero-gravity space workout

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After weeks of Christmas feasting, many people look forward to a January detox full of exercise, cold weather, and rubbish smoothies—then quickly make excuses when they realise how boring it is.

Not on the International Space Station, however.

European astronaut Matthias Maurer took to Twitter to share his post-Christmas workout. In a video, Maurer performs squats, pullups and crunches in zero-gravity to show off how he plans to work off the Christmas calories and, crucially, maintain bone density in space.

"There's no exception when it comes to the daily [two hours] exercise aboard the Space Station," Maurer wrote in the post.

"This not only serves to keep us in shape after the festive treats, but is important to strengthen our muscle mass & bone density in the weightless environment of space," he continued.

Maurer is one month into a six-month stint on the International Space Station, where he will be performing important scientific research 250 miles above the Earth's surface.

Exercise is essential in space, as the lack of gravity can mean many muscles begin to deteriorate quickly. Spacecraft are fitted with gym-style machines that allow astronauts to remain safe and healthy.

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Although astronauts have to spend most of Christmas working, they do get to enjoy a number of festive treats, including roast turkey, mac & cheese, cheesy potatoes, sweetcorn, bread sauce, and cookies. Most of these must come out of a tube or foil packet.

Christmas dinner in space is delivered weeks in advance, usually bundled with scientific samples such as meteorites and live mice. Astronauts also get given small gifts from their families.

Unfortunately, alcohol and gravy are banned for safety reasons.

Another popular ISS Christmas tradition is to make 'snowmen' out of spacesuits. The spacesuits are stuffed with fabric and given Santa hats, as well as milk and cookies for the big guy.

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