Is The Future of Exercise In Your Medicine Cabinet?

If you’ve ever longed for the day that you could simply take a pill to reap the benefits of working out, here’s a story for you: Scientists in Australia and Denmark are in the early stages of research for a pill that could one day mimic the effects of exercise. A study recently published in Cell Metabolism details how the scientists from the University of Sydney and the University of Copenhagen are advancing on the project.

While most of us know that regular exercise helps control a wide range of conditions including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and neurological disorders, a surprising number of Americans still don’t exercise regularly. In fact, the Physical Activity Council’s annual survey reported that 83 million Americans were sedentary during 2015.

Why aren’t we moving? Well, for starters, WebMD reports that many people skip the gym because they lack time, are fatigued or dislike exercise. And of course, people living with a chronic condition, pain or a disability are often sidelined. We also spend an increasing amount of time sitting, whether on the job or for entertainment.

In the study, researchers set out to map the physiological changes that occur while working out. They biopsied skeletal muscle tissue from four healthy, untrained men before and after the men performed 10 minutes of high intensity exercise. Investigators studied the muscle tissue to understand the protein activity of cells during physical activity, documenting more than 1,000 molecular changes. This led investigators to create a “blueprint” for exercise and use a statistical analysis to narrow the most significant physiological benefits of exercise.

Investigators think a drug that mimics exercise will need to target multiple molecules and pathways. This differs from most other medications which are manufactured to focus on one specific molecule. Although this pill, if developed, won’t provide all of the benefits of exercise such as easing stress, improving circulation or increasing bone mass, investigators suggest such a pill might be a major breakthrough in helping people maintain their health and quality of life.

Some experts are concerned that such a pill may foster sedentary behavior; however, researchers say it’s intended to be available via prescription for the elderly and individuals living with a disability, amputation, chronic pain or a condition exacerbated by exercise. Other investigators are also looking into this line of research; the University of Southampton (Great Britain) recently published a paper featuring similar results. Their “compound 14” was designed to make cells think they’re low on energy; thus, triggering a boost in metabolism and utilization of blood sugar.

If researchers are successful, this kind of pill could still be many years away. In the meantime, it’s important to stay active. Work with your doctor to develop an appropriate fitness routine that will focus on improving:
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness: Your heart and lungs need to be healthy enough to deliver oxygen throughout your body. The higher your cardiorespiratory fitness is, the more efficient your body can handle routine activities such as walking and stair climbing. Walking, cycling and swimming are all good low-impact ways to improve cardiorespiratory.
  • Muscular strength and endurance: This is the muscle’s ability to exert force to lift or move an object and how long this force can be exerted before becoming fatigued. Both muscular strength and endurance are important in performing the activities of daily living such as grocery shopping and house cleaning. Activities that build muscular strength and endurance include weight training, yoga and strength training classes.  
  • Flexibility: This is your joints’ ability to move through their full range of motion. Flexibility is an important component in sustaining limberness, moving in different directions and preventing aches and pains. Low impact activities that help improve flexibility include stretching and yoga.   
  • Body composition: This is your ratio of body fat versus muscle, water and bone. Generally speaking, a healthy body composition is below 25 percent fat for men and below 32 percent fat for women. A healthy body composition can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Cardiorespiratory activities, muscle strength/endurance exercises and diet help control body composition.
When designing your exercise plan, consider incorporating weight- bearing exercises to strengthen bones and agility training to help maintain balance, reaction time and coordination, as well as to help reduce the risk falls and other types of injuries.

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30 Comments
thebeatfitness
Dec 30th, 2016
Exercise makes our body fit and flexible. Thanks for sharing the benefits of exercise for our health.
LovisaKarlsson
Jun 29th, 2016
I totally agree with you. Exercise is an important part of managing rheumatoid arthritis. I really appreciate your post. You did a really good job!!
1 Reply
MDVIP
Jul 5th, 2016
Greetings Lovisa,

We’re glad you enjoyed this blog and appreciate your kind words.

In Good Health,
MDVIP
B Goldsmith
May 11th, 2016
This is completely irresponsible. The study was based on "four untrained, healthy males" and the findings are at a cellular level of kinases (enzymes) that may or may not ever be appropriate targets for creating a drug. There isn't even a drug in testing in people at this time and will be years until such a possibility exists. This is irresponsible blogging to patients in need of real hope
1 Reply
MDVIP
May 12th, 2016
Greetings B,

The intent of many of our blogs is to share cutting edge information with MDVIP members and this research is definitely cutting edge. Once this pill is developed, it will be a very exciting scientific breakthrough that will hopefully be able to address the needs of individuals living with a disability, amputation, chronic pain or a condition which exercise can exacerbate. Unfortunately, many Americans struggle with a health issue that prevents them from exercising and may find this medication to be of value.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Ellie
Apr 29th, 2016
Do you have any idea when this pill will be available? Our government is trying the only thing that helps me get out of bed & do ADL to some degree, as they are trying to ban opiates. I have had 4 botched hip operations & am in constant pain & the thought if exercise right now isn't going to happen, but how I would love to take a walk! Let me knw what u know about the time it will be available.
1 Reply
MDVIP
May 2nd, 2016
Greetings Ellie,

We’re very sorry to hear that you are struggling with a lot of pain. We’re not sure when this drug will be available. Currently, there are two research teams working on two different types of exercise pills; so, hopefully, one of them will be on the market in the future. In the interim, please keep working with your doctor to help you manage your medications and keep you functioning well enough to perform your ADLs. Take care.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Jackie
Apr 22nd, 2016
Will it help me pts
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 22nd, 2016
Greetings Jackie,

Once this medication hits the market, it would be in your best interest to consult your doctor.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Olive
Apr 22nd, 2016
Seems many missed the point for the exercise pilll. Once you are confined to a power chair you will understand how important exercise was. I was a walker and stair climber before. Now that is impossible due to nerve damage to my spinal cord. I have very poor balance and severe weakness on one side of my body. My weight is difficult to maintain and I barely eat enough to get proper nurishment. Things like berries for every meal is my mainstay.
So, an exercise pill would be miracle for me.
If you can safely get up on your feet and move count your blessings.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 22nd, 2016
Greetings Olive,

We’re very sorry to read about your situation. However, you are correct; you could benefit from this pill and hopefully, it will be available soon. Take care.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

J. ORourke
Apr 21st, 2016
All of these wonderful comments are inspiring. I truly appreciate MDVIP's responses that help clarify statements and really give feedback. Thank you for bringing this information forward for us to learn about.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 22nd, 2016
Greetings J.,

Thank you very much for your kind words. They are greatly appreciated.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Florence Verlangieri
Apr 21st, 2016
I would rather walk,swim or play tennis than take another pill !!!!!!!!
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 22nd, 2016
Greetings Florence,

We agree with you. However, the pill is designed for people who are not fortunate enough to walk, swim or play tennis. It’s for people who have a condition that prohibits them from exercising; for instance, if they are confined to a wheelchair.

In Good Health,
MDVIP


Lane Parker
Apr 21st, 2016
I am the mother and main caregiver for my 33-year-old son who has been a quadriplegic for almost 12 years. He was a super athlete before his accident and would love to exercise if he could. A baclofen pump placed in his right lower abdomen four years ago for spasm relief now prevents him from doing many of the exercises he was able to manage after his accident, So, except for a little boxing, he no longer exercises at all.He feels he can't safely lean over or put pressure on his body for fear of disturbing that ____pump! Perhaps this pill would give him back some of the benefits of exercising!
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 21st, 2016
Greetings Lane,

We’re sorry to read about your son’s situation. However, yes; it is stories such your son’s that is driving researchers to find alternatives, such as this upcoming pill, to exercise. We wish you best.

In Good Health,
MDVIP


Joyce Harrell
Apr 21st, 2016
Every day take walk to heap my food dijeston.
Gary Wiener
Apr 21st, 2016
I would try it. I am disabled and unable to do exercise on a daily basis.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 21st, 2016
Greetings Gary,

The intention of the drug is to help people like you. Hopefully it will be available soon and you will be able to benefit from it.

In Good Health,
MDVIP
Bob Sheehan
Apr 21st, 2016
Is the pill available now ?
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 21st, 2016
Greetings Bob,

No, the pill is in the development stages right now and then will probably have to go through some clinical trials. However, many people are anxious for this medication to hit the market; so, hopefully, it will be available in the near future.

In Good Health,
MDVIP


Ken Elder
Apr 21st, 2016
Has anyone looked into the effect this medicine may have on weakening neurons that result from Post-Polio Syndrome?
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 21st, 2016
Greetings Ken,

You pose a very interesting question. Because the drug is still in development, there is no information available yet as to its contraindications. However, after doing some research, I found a long list of medications that can interfere with PPS; so, your concern is valid. For instance, you may already be aware that many medications can cause sedation in PPS patients, e.g., antihistamines, benzodiazepines, opiates, narcotics and some other antidepressants. Additionally, antibiotics, chemotherapy and mega doses of vitamin B6 can cause nerve damage to already weakened nerve cells. And, medications like quinine, quinidine, procainamide, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, long-term use steroids and statins seem to increase weakness and fatigue. That said, once this drug hits the market, check with your doctor or a pharmacist to see if it has chemical similarities to the above mentioned types of drugs.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Bernice gianotti
Apr 21st, 2016
Due to back problems exercise is painful . I am 86 it would be a dream come true .
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 21st, 2016
Greetings Bernice,

We agree! This new pill will be a dream come true for many people.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Iona Konwaler
Apr 21st, 2016
I would most certainly try it. Would hope my insurance will cover it.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 21st, 2016
Greetings Iona,

Hopefully insurance companies will cover this medication, as it sounds like it can help a lot of people.

In Good Health,
MDVIP


kathy Keown
Apr 20th, 2016
Having RA sometimes make it difficult at times to work out because of many health issues. I am OPEN to try this new drug.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 21st, 2016
Greetings Kathy,

RA is just one of the many conditions that will hopefully be benefitting from this medication in the near future.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Gloria Van Fleet
Apr 20th, 2016
I would like to give it a try. I would love to be able to walk at least around the block
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 21st, 2016
Greetings Gloria,

Hopefully, the drug will be available soon.

In Good Health,
MDVIP
Virginia Warren
Apr 20th, 2016
I would be interested.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 21st, 2016
Greetings Virginia,

This drug seems like it might be able to help a lot of people. Hopefully it will be available soon.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Linda Moore
Apr 20th, 2016
I will hold my opinion in reserve until the side effects are listed. Sounds too good to be true!
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 21st, 2016
Greetings Linda,

You raise a very good point. Researchers will not be able to identify contraindications and side effects until the drug has been developed and gone through clinical trials.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Phyllis Gamble
Apr 20th, 2016
Sounds good I hope to try it
Larry White
Apr 20th, 2016
Interested.....
Trudy Myers
Apr 20th, 2016
Would love to be able to walk the 5 miles a day I used to. Now on my feet all shift and do 5k-12k steps. Have psoriatic arthritis, and a back injury injury that when I get home, and get out of the car, I can barely stand much less walk for a minute or two.

That being said, not sure another pill to take is the answer.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 21st, 2016
Greetings Trudy,

This pill may not be the answer for you. You may want to consider working with your doctor to develop an exercise program that can help you manage your psoriatic arthritis. Exercise prescriptions for psoriatic arthritis usually include walking, swimming or biking. Further, some stretches and core strengthening exercises may help ease the back pain and stiffness you are feeling from standing on your feet all day.

In Good Health,
MDVIP


Jeff
Apr 20th, 2016
As a survivor of 4 heart attacks and 2 by-pass procedures, I have become a daily "gym rat".
The benefits have been amazing. I am fortunate enough to be able to exercise and I wouldn't trade it for a pill for anything.
It's tremendous stress relief for me. Never thought I would wake up every morning to "go sweat" but a combination of free weights and cardiovascular exercise is very satisfying after I'm done.
I want to watch my 6 grandkids grow up and this will do it for me.
I encourage anyone reading this to raise their heart rate daily. It's amazing!
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 21st, 2016
Greetings Jeff,

You have such as great story! And, you’re an inspiration to many people. Fortunately, the intent of this pill is to provide the physiological benefits of exercise to people who cannot work out at all. However, this medication won’t provide the psychological benefits of exercise like stress relief or a euphoric feeling as a result of endorphins.

In Good Health,
MDVIP


Linda Walsh
Apr 20th, 2016
I have OA, bone rubbing on bone, exercising hurts. Can't wait for the pill.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 21st, 2016
Greetings Linda,

We’re sorry to hear that you have OA; it can be quite painful. Hopefully, the medication will be available in the near future and you can discuss using it with your doctor.

In Good Health,
MDVIP


Joan Goldstein
Apr 20th, 2016
Pills are beneficial mostly to the companies that produce them. For the rest of us, a walk in the woods not only helps our bodies, it lifts spirits. Just yesterday, I invited a 89 year old neighbor to walk with me and she outpaced and outdistanced me while she reminisced about her long life. Now I ask you: how could a pill produce this?
Joan Goldstein
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 21st, 2016
Greeting Joan,

We totally agree with you. Walking and spending time with a friend provides many more benefits than a pill. And, how inspiring to read that an 89 year old has so much energy! Fortunately, the pill is intended for people who cannot exercise at all. It’s actually a very exciting breakthrough because this medication is intended to provide some of the physiological benefits of exercise to those who are, by no choice of their own, sedentary.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

Martha Davis
Apr 20th, 2016
Until I developed Fibromyalgia in 1993, I was extemely active and exercised regularly. Once my condition was managed, I was active and busy but never made time for exercise. Now, I have CFIDS and a thyroid condition that robs me of energy. I just recovered from 3 years of severe and chronic vertigo that kept me sedentary or bedridden. I would love to be able to exercise but I'm so deconditioned and fatigued that I can't walk the length of my home without becoming winded. This article gave me ideas for the kind of PT I need but if I'm unable to regain stamina, this pill would be a dream come true. Until then, I'm not giving up!
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 21st, 2016
Greetings Martha,

Fibromyalgia can be tough, not to mention the ME/CFS/CFIDS and thyroid condition. However, you sound like a fighter! Our best suggestion for you is to continue working with your doctor to find ways to help keep you physically active that won’t re-trigger your vertigo.

In Good Health,
MDVIP

.d. hollosi
Apr 19th, 2016
I have RA and can't walk for 30 min. Is there anything else?
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 21st, 2016
Greetings D.,

Exercise is an important part of managing rheumatoid arthritis, and walking is a highly recommended mode of exercise for RA. However, if you are struggling to get walking into your routine, our suggestion is to discuss the exercises suggested in this Arthritis Foundation slide show with your doctor. http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/rheumatoid-arthritis/articles/best-exercises-for-ra.php

In Good Health,
MDVIP


David M Petrou
Apr 19th, 2016
Just thirty minutes of brisk walking could put me in much better shape for a longer, happier and healthier life! I WILL make the time to do it. . . .
1 Reply
MDVIP
Apr 21st, 2016
Greetings David,

Yes, we agree that walking on a daily basis can help keep you healthy. Just to be helpful, we are sharing this article from Health magazine that provides 25 tips to help you get more steps into your daily routine. http://news.health.com/2011/09/08/get-more-steps-a-day/ .

In Good Health,
MDVIP


Alice Mazon
Apr 18th, 2016
Sounds too good to be true!
wallace davidson
Apr 18th, 2016
sounds good,i hate to exercise
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