What if you could take a pill that would give your body a workout without all of that exertion? Goodbye sweating in public and languishing gym membership, hello Netflix, snacks and comfortable couch, right?
You could be forgiven for thinking the idea sounds a little like something you might see peddled on an infomercial at 2 a.m. — but research conducted by scientists at the University of Sydney and the University of Copenhagen could bring it into reality.
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The study, published earlier this month in the science journal Cell Metabolism, explores the biochemical reactions our bodies undergo during exercise in an effort to create drugs that could aid in the treatment cardiovascular disease, obesity, type-2 diabetes. Given the fact that sitting for long periods of time is bad for even the healthiest of people, these types of drugs could also benefit elderly people who are less active, or hospital bed-bound patients as well.
In the study, four healthy male subjects had muscle biopsies and blood samples taken before and after a 10-minute, high-intensity work out, allowing the researchers to map out how proteins in our skeletal muscles change during this kind of activity. Hoffman told Quartz that he and his team are the first to have created this highly detailed blueprint, which shows that exercise produces 1,000 molecular changes in our muscles. The study involved three years of research.
An effective drug would mimic a number of these changes at a time, so pharmaceutical development is still a ways away, but Hoffman and his fellow researchers plan to create more exercise blueprints to see the differences between ill and healthy people.
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