Exercise Pill: Really?

by | Aug 6, 2008

A recent study published in the journal Cell describes a chemical that has the ability to increase exercise endurance in mice without a regular exercise regimen (i.e. training). News media has paraded this research as the discovery of an “exercise pill” that could potentially reduce or eliminate the need for regular exercise.

If this sounds a little ridiculous to you, you are not alone.

I am happy to report that not everyone interprets this new data as the answer to America’s obesity epidemic. An article appeared in today’s ScienceDaily explaining that the research does not even come close to testing all the potential benefits of exercise and therefore extreme caution should be taken when interpreting the results of this single study.

Benefits of exercise that were not tested in the mouse study include (but are not limited to) increasing positive measures of cardiac capacity and decreasing risk for diseases like heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer and osteoporosis.

So let’s be clear: there are countless benefits of exercise and we have no idea if this substance can replicate them or not.

It is also good to remember the pure physical enjoyment and heightened quality of life that can be achieved through exercise, valuable outcomes that scientists often neglect in their analysis.

And did I mention this study was done on mice and not humans?

Such research may one day improve the lives of individuals who have the misfortune of a physical handicap that prevents or limits regular exercise. For the rest of us, my advice is to find ways to make exercise fun and enjoyable rather than hoping science can give you an excuse for getting out of it.

What do you think about an “exercise pill”?

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One Response to “Exercise Pill: Really?”

  1. Jed Wolpaw says:

    I say if we can get thin mice without having to run them around those mouse treadmills all day long we should go for it. Just think of all the better uses those little treadmills could be put towards.

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