If the idea of getting all the benefits of exercise in one handy pill (and without leaving the sofa) sounds too good to be true, then listen up.
Science could be about to make fiction into reality after a team of researchers found a chemical compound that can be administered in tablets, and boost fat burning and endurance by up to 70% without any effort.
For the past two decades researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego have been studying the role of a chemical called PPARD, which is normally activated in the human body by running or other forms of cardio.
In trials on mice they were able to artificially activate PPARD – even though the mice remained sedentary - and mimic the effects of aerobic exercise on the body.
Activating PPARD at the molecular level, by giving the mice the drug, increased the length of time they could run from 160 minutes to 270 minutes.
Lead author WeiWei Fan, said: “Exercise activates PPARD, but we’re showing that you can do the same thing without mechanical training.
“It means you can improve endurance to the equivalent level as someone in training, without all of the physical effort.”
The use of PPARD in the real world could theoretically help replace your workout, but they are also looking at the possibility of it being used to help athletes break through the performance ‘wall’.
Hitting ‘the wall’ is a sensation familiar to anyone who has tried to push their limits when exercising - the point when you just don’t feel able to finish that lap of the track or that last bicep curl.
Apparently it happens because of carbohydrate depletion, but PPARD delays the depletion of carbohydrate stores (mainly glycogen in liver and muscle).
It could also help those who are unable to exercise with heart conditions and disabilities, without doing any training at all.