Tuesday, July 17, 2007

An astronaut's voyage to good health

Say you're up in a space shuttle and an emergency requires you to evacuate. A small overhead window is your escape route: you fit through it in a bulky orange spacesuit or, well, it's "Houston, I've got a problem." That, quips NASA astronaut Joan Higginbotham, is pretty good motivation to maintain a healthy weight.

The Seabrook woman was part of the seven-member Discovery crew in December 2006, a mission she spent years training for. Her healthy lifestyle includes a good diet, lots of exercise and looking out for others through the Gulf Coast Apollo Chapter of the Links Inc., and the Sickle Cell Association of the Texas Gulf Coast.

Her diet

Lots of turkey and seafood, veggies and fruit. When training, she often took her own food. But on board Discovery, well, space food isn't low fat or low cal.

Fitness regimen

She spent four years as a competitive bodybuilder (placed third in her first competition), but still does more routine strength training combined with running, bicycling and treadmill workouts 5 to 6 days a week.

De-stressing?

Higginbotham says exercise is the key to alleviating stress. But sometimes she just likes to get away from everything and spend a weekend not worrying about work or other responsibilities.

Her guilty pleasures?

Red licorice.

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