Here's how China's astronauts keep fit aboard Tiangong space station (video)

China's astronauts are working up a sweat in orbit with a variety of exercise machines designed to keep them fit and fight the loss of bone density that comes with living in microgravity.

Video clips of the Tiangong space station's Wentian experiment module released recently by the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) show astronaut Deng Qingming using a customized space cycling machine to exercise both sets of limbs. 

Deng and his crewmates on the current Shenzhou 15 mission, commander Fei Junlong and Zhang Lu, are also using resistance equipment installed in the Mengtian experiment module for workouts that include rowing, squatting and pulling, which can help them strengthen muscles and bones in the microgravity environment of space.

Related: Weightlessness and its effect on astronauts

Shenzhou 15 astronauts Deng Qingming and Zhang Lu get in a workout aboard China's Tiangong space station.

Shenzhou 15 astronauts Deng Qingming and Zhang Lu get in a workout aboard China's Tiangong space station. (Image credit: CCTV)

The three-module Tiangong also has a treadmill, which has long been one of the main ways for astronauts to exercise to limit bone loss and muscle decay while in orbit.

The Shenzhou 15 astronauts launched to the Tiangong space station on Nov. 29 last year and plan to spend a total of around 180 days in orbit. Fei Junlong and Zhang Lu last week embarked on the mission's first spacewalk.

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Andrew Jones
Contributing Writer

Andrew is a freelance space journalist with a focus on reporting on China's rapidly growing space sector. He began writing for in 2019 and writes for SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, New Scientist and others. Andrew first caught the space bug when, as a youngster, he saw Voyager images of other worlds in our solar system for the first time. Away from space, Andrew enjoys trail running in the forests of Finland. You can follow him on Twitter @AJ_FI.