Prolonged immobilisation in the form of bed rest leads to detrimental physiological adaptation to reduced loading including muscle wasting and insulin resistance.

Long term bed rest studies look at these adaptations to investigate the effects of microgravity and test their countermeasures for long duration space missions. However, they also offer a unique opportunity to investigate physical inactivity in the general population who may be immobilised due to illness or injury.

In collaboration with the European Space Agency, this study has been funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council to investigate how quickly insulin resistance develops in our body and muscles after three days and 60 days of bed rest in healthy volunteers.

Institutions / organisations and researchers


  • This study is due to start January 2017.
  • Results will be disseminated to the space research community and into public health through the NCSEM.