Scientists find the blueprint of the effect of exercising. This could lead to drugs that have the benefits of exercise. No sweat and motivation needed.
I love exercising, but it is not always easy to get motivated to hit the gym or go on a run. New research could open the door to exercise in a bottle. A drug could deliver the same benefits as actually working out.
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Scientists at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre identified a thousand molecular changes that occur in muscles during exercise, providing the world’s first comprehensive exercise blueprint.
“Exercise is the most powerful therapy for many human diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders. “However, for many people, exercise isn’t a viable treatment option. This means it is essential we find ways of developing drugs that mimic the benefits of exercise,” said Professor David James, Leonard P. Ullmann Chair of Metabolic Systems at the Charles Perkins Centre and the head of the research group that undertook the study.
The researchers analyzed human skeletal muscle biopsies from four untrained, healthy males following 10 minutes of high intensity exercise. Using a technique known as mass spectrometry to study a process called protein phosphorylation, co-author Dr Benjamin Parker discovered that short, intensive exercise triggers more than 1,000 changes.
“Exercise produces an extremely complex, cascading set of responses within human muscle. It plays an essential role in controlling energy metabolism and insulin sensitivity. While scientists have long suspected that exercise causes a complicated series of changes to human muscle, this is the first time we have been able to map exactly what happens,” said co-author Dr Nolan Hoffman from the Charles Perkins Centre and Faculty of Science.
It is unclear at this point how far science is away from making a drug that can replace physical exercise. The drug would also just deliver the benefits of exercise for muscles, but not for the mind. Exercising has a profound overall impact and no drug will replace that.
As Arnold Schwarzenegger puts it: "Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body."
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