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Exercise Pill - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Exercise Pill

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  Exercising is important for your health... but not always something we're excited to do. Some new research could solve that problem.  Harvard researchers recently discovered what happens in our muscles chemically when we exercise... giving us those sought-after benefits.

  What if you could plop in front of the TV and still get the benefit of going to the gym?  Good? How about fantastic! So is it possible? well possibly according to recent research done at Harvard medical school. Scientists say they pinpointed the hormone in muscle cells that triggers the benefits of exercise... a kind of chemical messenger.

  Sounds promising so far says Temple University Researcher Dr. Kevin Jon Williams.

  Dr. Kevin Jon Williams/Temple University Researcher: "The discovery of this hormone, Iirisin that's released from muscle during exercise is a major scientific breakthrough."

  Named Irisin after the Greek messenger goddess, researchers say the hormone has a powerful effect on white fat. That's the fat that gets stored as calories.

  According to the researchers, when Irisin is injected into mice it turns on the genes that change white fat into so called brown fat. Brown fat is known to burn more calories... it's what happens naturally when we work out.

  Dr. Kevin Jon Williams/Temple University Researcher: "When animals or people exercise the muscle releases this hormone and it tells the fat to burn more calories."

  So is it time to toss out the gym membership and head for the barc-a-lounger? Not just yet. For one thing, Irisin won't make muscles stronger.  And it won't be tested on humans for at least a couple of years... so doctors don't know what the side effects could be.   Plus Dr. Williams stresses it's not easy to turn research into reality.

Dr. Kevin Jon Williams/Temple University Researcher: "That's very difficult, it's difficult to translate scientific discoveries, even important ones, into actual useful stuff that people can use on a day to day basis." 

  If getting fit and dropping some pounds is your goal... here is what Dr. Williams says are two sure fire ways to get started... get rid of sugary beverages! That includes sugary soft drinks and fruit juice. The second thing is walk as often as you can.

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