Monday, August 4, 2008

Exercise in a Pill

It's been around for a while now - talk about a pill replacing exercise.

It hit the headlines back on July 31st, 2008.  Dr. Ronald Evans a molecular biologist/scientist with the Salk Institute have been doing tests with mice that “genetically reprogram” cells mimicking the effects of exercise.
Even when the mice are not active, the chemicals GW1516 and AICAR activate the same fat-burning process that occurs during exercise.

The pill boosts endurance. It stimulates a protein that produces an enzyme that provides energy to muscle cells making the cells act like they belong to marathon runners. Treated mice ran 44% longer than untreated mice.

That may be great for those with joint problems but it sure doesn’t help the heart or lungs – so much for any cardiovascular benefits. Such a medication may even add stress or other ill effects to the body.

The drugs genetically reprogram muscle fibres to burn fat and contract repeatedly without fatigue. Great for all those coach potatoes – right?

Maybe if you are the size of the couch…..

If a so-called drug can give unused muscles more endurance – it’s not the “be all to end all.” Don’t get this mixed up with actually strengthening your muscles. Muscles need more than endurance – it requires strength and power training also. Simply put, muscles require resistance under load and with intensity to see improvements. Intensity of effort is the key training variable for optimizing training results.

Ignoring the controversial abuse by athletes - similar to that from steroids, this exercise pill may have therapeutic potential – to those with illnesses that may be bedridden, have certain muscle diseases, or are frail or obese. Mind you, I’m sure there will be side effects.

Even if there was a magic pill – and you could afford it…there are much more benefits to exercise. Besides adding strength and tone to the muscles, exercise works your heart and lungs. An exercise pill won’t build your self-esteem and confidence you get from a good work-out. Resistance and Aerobic exercise can improve your mood, add brain power, help your sex life, and change your body for the better.

One of my favorite sayings is “Use it or Lose it.” The human body was meant to move.
There are no magic pills, no short-cuts, no special diets, machines or routines that will result in “getting into shape” Strive for an overall plan to increase your health, fitness, well-being and quality of life. And most importantly – have fun!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said.