Good news, chubbies! Science has got your back. Researchers at the Salk Institute have found two drugs that trick the muscles in mice into thinking they've been working out like crazy, even when said mice have been playing World of Warcraft and eating Funyuns for 8 straight hours.
One drug, known as Aicar, increased the mice's endurance on a treadmill by 44 percent after just four weeks of treatment.
A second drug, GW1516, supercharged the mice to a 75 percent increase in endurance, but had to be combined with exercise to have any effect.
"It's a little bit like a free lunch without the calories," said Dr. Ronald M. Evans, leader of the Salk group.
The results, Dr. Evans said, seem reasonably likely to apply to people, who control muscle tone with the same underlying genes as do mice. And if the drugs work and prove to be safe, they could be useful in a wide range of settings.
Yeah, settings such as your couch, your desk chair and your bed, as those are the only places you'll be sitting when you're taking a pill that tricks your body into thinking you're some sort of Olympian.
Of course, the initial uses are going to be for people with diseases such as diabetes that are improved with exercise, but you know the major pharmaceutical companies are licking their chops and looking at the insanely-large couch potato demographic. The future is now! [NY Times]