Still from video of Al Neyadi running 'horizontally' on treadmill inside the space station Image Credit: Screengrab/Twitter

Dubai: Life in space comes with unique challenges and UAE astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi, who is on the longest Arab space mission, has shared how he is embracing them by posting a video that shows his acrobatic skills in putting on sneakers and running on a wall in microgravity.

“Unlike on Earth, strapping in for a run on the space station can be quite the adventure. Here’s a video of me embracing the unique challenges that come with working out on the ISS,” Al Neyadi posted while sharing a video of his preparations for exercise on the International Space Station (ISS).

In the more than two-minute-long video, Al Neyadi has enthused space aficionados with his routine to prepare for a workout out of this world, over 400km above the Earth, on a treadmill that is suspended from the side wall of a module on ISS.

He can be seen floating into a module on the ISS and fetching a pair of running shoes from the roof of the module.

He then leaves the left shoe to float around and tries to put on the right shoe first. Al Neyadi floats on his back without holding on to anything and skilfully puts on the right shoe, grabs the left one, flips around, touches the floor and pushes himself away again to wear the left shoe in the second attempt as he faces down.

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Weightless workout

After donning the trainers, he pulls down a shoulder and waist harness from the roof of the module and wears it. Al Neyadi then bends down and buckles up the harness to the cables with elastic straps attached to the treadmill which is mounted on the side wall.

He can be seen plugging in workout headphones and turning on some switches before he starts running on the treadmill.

Al Neyadi then offers the unique view of his weightless workout for about 20 seconds, jogging in a ‘horizontal’ position.

Demonstrating the benefits of exercise in space is one of the first activities that the Najmonaut (Arab astronaut) dubbed the ‘Sultan of Space’ had shared in the first week after he floated into the ISS on March 3 following the NASA SpaceX Crew-6 launch from Florida on March 2.

“On Earth, exercising is important. In space, it’s vital. Aboard the International Space Station, we exercise for 2.5 hours every day to avoid muscle atrophy and bone loss triggered by microgravity,” Al Neyadi tweeted on March 10 with an image of him all hooked up to another treadmill.

The benefits of exercise in space was also the topic of the first episode of the ‘ELF in Space’ online programme, an educational initiative by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC), in collaboration with the Emirates Literature Foundation (ELF).


Exercise is a “countermeasure” to prevent deterioration of muscles and bones in space. Numerous types of exercise equipment have been used in reduced gravity to evaluate and maintain astronaut fitness.

There are currently two treadmills on the ISS. The first is the BD-2 treadmill equipment located in the Zvezda Service Module. The second is the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill, or COLBERT, which is located in the Tranquility Module.

The second one is named after American comedian Stephen Colbert. Colbert’s fans earned him the most entries for NASA’s online naming poll of the station’s Node 3. While NASA ultimately went with another name for the node (“Tranquility”), they decided to name the treadmill in his honor instead.

Al Neyadi appears to have shot the latest video on BD-2, while his first image of exercise seems to have been taken from COLBERT which also collects data on the workouts to effectively report each astronaut’s profile to scientists and health experts on the ground.

The space gym has also included an ARED (Advanced Resistive Exercise Device) to build strong muscles, a CEVIS (Cycle-Ergometer Vibration Isolation System), an unusual stationary bicycle to help improve cardio health, among other ergometer space bikes.