Good news, lazy people: Everyone knows that exercise is good for you, but everyone also knows that a Netflix marathon is vastly superior to running an actual marathon. Luckily, science is there to save us from ourselves. A team of scientists at the Salk Institute have created a pill that mimics many of the benefits of exercise, including increased fat burning and stamina, at least in mice.
Their study was just published in Cell Metabolism and just in case your subscription has lapsed, it reveals that the Salk researchers figured out a way to activate a gene pathway that is triggered by running. They then identified a chemical compound (called GW1516) that mimicked the beneficial effects of exercise and then gave it to some sedentary mice aka our spirit animals. The mice were then put on tiny mouse treadmills and mice on the drug were able to run 70% longer than mice in the control group, according to the Salk Institute. They were also resistant to weight gain and more responsive to insulin than the mice who were not doping. Scientists and pharmaceutical companies are hoping to move to human clinical trials next in the hope of creating “exercise in pill form” and moving us all one step closer to living out the future depicted in Wall-E.