An exercise pill — timing is everything

Well, it’s Saturday morning and I’m getting ready to run. That’s good. Sun will be up in an hour or so. And it will probably be a little hot and humid — but no smog. Still, I guess I could sit here and scan the Web or do something else to fritter away the early morning. Nah. Would feel guilty about not getting any exercise.

But wait. What’s this? “Exercise Pill: Drug Burns Fat, Boosts Endurance Without Moving A Muscle.” That’s the headline for a story on The Huffington Post. Here’s the quick read:

NEW YORK — Here’s a couch potato’s dream: What if a drug could help you gain some of the benefits of exercise without working up a sweat? Scientists reported Thursday that there is such a drug _ if you happen to be a mouse.

Sedentary mice that took the drug for four weeks burned more calories and had less fat than untreated mice. And when tested on a treadmill, they could run about 44 percent farther and 23 percent longer than untreated mice.

Just how well those results might translate to people is an open question. But someday, researchers say, such a drug might help treat obesity, diabetes and people with medical conditions that keep them from exercising.

“We have exercise in a pill,” said Ron Evans, an author of the study. “With no exercise, you can take a drug and chemically mimic it.”

Well, something to live for, I guess. But in the meantime I’ll hit the road. Oh, by the way. I take back the previous comment about smog. Why? Well here’s from The Washington Post this morning:

ZHENGDING, China — Behind the gray walls and barbed wire of the prison here, eight Chinese farmers with a grievance against the government have been consigned to Olympic limbo.

Their indefinite detainment, relatives and neighbors said, is the price they are paying for stirring up trouble as China prepares to host the Beijing Games. Trouble, the Communist Party has made clear, will not be permitted.

I’ll just run and have happy thoughts. Here’s one. Wonder if in the spirit of the Beijing Games officials would consider giving exercise pills to those being detained?

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