A while back, I wrote a completely theoretical post over at Diet Blog about the development of an Exercise Pill. And now, guess what? It looks like scientists are getting closer to developing a real exercise pill that provides many of the same benefits that actual exercise does.
(And I'm guessing there are about 150,000 health, weight loss, and fitness blogger who are covering this subject today or got around to it last week. Eh, so what. One of our Governing Principles here at Cranky Fitness is: If you're too lazy to be first, you might as well be silliest.)
Currently you have to be a mouse in the right experimental group to chuck those workouts. But who knows what the future will bring?
Want some hints?
"Almost no one gets the recommended 40 minutes to an hour per day of exercise," said Ronald Evans, head research dude. "For this group of people, if there was a way to mimic exercise, it would make the quality of exercise that they do much more efficient."
Research Dude explained: "If you like exercise, you like the idea of getting more bang for your buck. If you don't like exercise, you love the idea of getting the benefits from a pill."
The drug helps cells burn fat better and boosts endurance. And while the pills are only available experimentally now, the drug "has a relatively simple chemical structure and can be synthesized easily."
Hmm... An easily synthesized pill that could substitute in many ways for actual exercise... think anyone will be interested?
(Note to self: sell shares in 24-Hour Fitness; buy Krispy Kreme).
Assuming that this thing ever really got developed and actually worked (with no dangerous side effects), would you take it? Would you still exercise as much?
And how would you feel about couch potatoes taking a pill instead of doing any exercise at all?
I don't know about you, but thinking about these questions makes me feel weird...
No, not weird like I suddenly turned into a handsome well-groomed European guy. Weird like confused and skeptical and judgmental and grouchy.
Yet to be honest... perhaps somewhat intrigued.
Why these mixed emotions? Any of you experiencing the same thing?
Perhaps it's because getting the benefits of exercise without actually suffering through it seems like cheating. It strikes me as somehow "unfair"--in a way that taking an antibiotic to keep from dying of an nasty infection does not.
If we've been doing our exercise all these years, especially if we've done a lot more than we felt like doing, then we should get credit! And people who skipped out and didn't bother should be punished, right?
Er--that sounds kinda screwed up, doesn't it?
Funny how easy it is to equate "exertion" and "sacrifice" with "virtue." But if the exertion merely serves to get us something we could get with a pill, and we could use that time to save the environment or feed hungry people or catch up on that stack of Entertainment Weekly's we've been meaning to get to... what is actually wrong with that?
As it happens, I'm skeptical of scientists' ability to really replicate natural biological processes in a lab, so I'm guessing that even a best case scenario it will be a substance that you could take in addition to exercise, rather than instead of. But would I take the pill, cut down on the treadmill time, and focus more on exercise I actually enjoy?
What do you guys think?