Scientists from the University of Sydney in Australia and Denmark's University of Copenhagen said that they have found a way to create a pill that can mimic the effects of exercise.
This discovery can potentially revolutionize the way people achieve their fitness goals.
For the first part of the study, the team of scientists first observed four untrained yet healthy males engage in ten minutes of high-intensity exercises, People reported. Through a technique called mass spectrometry, they were able to track down the molecular changes that occur inside the body during the physical activities.
Discovering a total of 1,000 changes, the researchers were able to come up with a math and engineering-based blueprint that details the overall effects of exercise on the body.
According to Dr. David James, one of the co-authors of the study, this blueprint can be used to map out the molecules that need to be targeted by an effective exercise pill.
"Most traditional drugs target individual molecules," he said in a press statement. "With this exercise blueprint, we have proven that any drug that mimics exercise will need to target multiple molecules and possibly even pathways, which are a combination of molecules working together."
"We believe this is the key to unlocking the riddle of drug treatments to mimic exercise," Dr. James added.
Despite the science behind it, Ismael Laher, a professor at the University of British Columbia and co-author of a second study about the subject, noted that the exercise pill, if ever one is created, should not be considered as a magical drug that can completely replace the benefits of being physically active.
In other words, it will not be as effective as actual physical exercise paired with a healthy diet. But, for those who cannot engage in traditional exercise routines such as stroke victims and amputees, this type of pill could help them remain physically fit.
"I want to be clear that really there is no way to replace routine exercise with an exercise pill," Laher told The Washington Post. "Exercise requires your heart rate to go up, blood to flow faster, and you cannot do that with an exercise pill...but in particular groups, it's the next best thing."
The study written by Dr. James' team was published on October 1 in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism. Laher's report was published on October 2 and can be accessed through the Trends in Pharmacological Sciences journal.