Can a Pill Really Replace Exercise?

This month, an article was published in Cell journal which stated that researchers may have found a pill that can provide some of the same benefits as exercise.  Not surprisingly, this was all over the news as soon as the report was released.  After all, wouldn’t it be easier to take a pill than go for a jog?

The study, which was done on mice, found that when mice were given a pill called AICA it enhanced their running endurance by 44%.  Therefore, researchers feel that taking this pill may be able to “enhance training adaptation or even increase endurance without exercise”.

However, just because this pill showed endurance improvements in mice, it is still yet to be seen if humans will get the same benefit (not to mention if it will be safe).  Also, improved endurance is only one of a countless number of benefits that exercise provides.  The pill does not help with improved coordination, balance or strength.  It does not help with stress management, depression or the self-confidence that comes from mastering a particular exercise or sport.  The pill does not improve the immune system or reduce the risk of certain types of cancers, osteoporosis or heart disease.  Need I say more?

So, will this pill ever replace exercise?   No, it won’t even come close!  Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  If you really want the benefits of exercise, then it is best to find an activity you enjoy and get moving.