If exercising was as easy as popping a pill, would you take it? OK, so it’s not something that is on the market yet, but scientists are starting to develop “exercise pills” that could mimic some of the benefits of exercise on the body. Crazy, we know. But nevertheless, interesting!
The research published in Pharmacological Sciences, says that at the moment, this study is only being tested in animals. They’ve been testing to see whether these pills are able to target the muscles to improve strength and energy use, producing stronger, faster muscles. But as we know, the health benefits of sweating it out are far beyond its effect on just muscles.
“We have recognised the need for exercise pills for some time, and this is an achievable goal based on our improved understanding of the molecular targets of physical exercise,” says co-author Ismail Laher.
“Clearly people derive many other rewarding experiences from exercise–such as increased cognitive function, bone strength, and improved cardiovascular function,” says Laher. “It is unrealistic to expect that exercise pills will fully be able to substitute for physical exercise – at least not in the immediate future.”
So where are they going with this? They’re hoping that these “exercise pills” might be able to provide benefits to people who are unable to exercise for a variety of reasons.
“For example, a pill for people with spinal cord injury could be very appealing given the difficulties that these individuals face in exercising due to paralysis–in such patients, a large number of detrimental changes occur in cardiovascular and skeletal muscle function,” says Laher.
“We are at the early stages of this exciting new field,” explains Laher. “Further development of exercise pills that act in combination may be more effective than single compounds. We just don’t know anything about their long-term use in humans yet.”
Despite the need for further research, we’re still pretty intrigued by these new findings.