Would you take an exercise pill?

Would you take an exercise pill?

It all sounds a bit like a science fiction novel, but scientists are working on the development of an exercise pill – a pill you can take that will replace the need to exercise.

“Exercise in a pill” claims the leading researcher at Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California.

How does it work?

There is a chemical compound called 516 which could mimic the effect of training hard by preventing your body from burning glucose and instead burn fat.

The idea is that chemical 516 has the same effect of exercise by getting your body to break down fat instead of burning carbohydrates.

Why take it?

The pill is being developed for the benefit of those who can’t exercise, perhaps due to ill health or disability.

The University of Southampton has also been working on a similar pill, exploiting something called compound 14 which speeds up the cells’ metabolism and sugar intake. A useful tool in the fight against obesity, perhaps.

What’s the catch?

The pills are far from being on the open market yet.

Whilst they could certainly be beneficial to anyone who can’t exercise, would the pills really replace exercise and benefit your body and mind in the same way?

Exercise builds bone density and muscle strength. It’s hard to see how a pill that burns fat instead of carbs would also tone you and strengthen you.

It’s also unlikely to release those feel good chemicals that we get from a good exercise session.

Our verdict?

Don’t hang your trainers up just yet.

The Author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.


Callum P.
27 March 2018

Callum P.

can see lots of people being tempted, it's a lazy person's dream. But surely can't be as beneficial. Can see how it would help anyone who couldn't exercise though

Brittany T.
25 March 2018

Brittany T.

interesting idea - but quite right, it won't do it for bone strengthening, cardiac health or general fitness even if it does make us thinner.

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