The Exercise Pill: One Swallow, Then Svelte | HumorOutcasts

The Exercise Pill: One Swallow, Then Svelte

April 12, 2018


The Exercise Pill: One Swallow, Then Svelte


Just in time for Spring and Summer, well, almost, well, maybe  — an exercise pill. Think of it. One swallow away from svelte!

It’s true. Well, sort of. What’s true is that scientists are working on drugs that provide the benefits of exercise without the need to actually move a muscle, get off the couch … or, horrors, sweat.

Imagine the possibilities. Imagine the delight. No more Pilates classes. No more Zumba sessions. No need to Rumba with your vacuuming Roomba! No more running with the bulls!

The New Yorker recently detailed the science behind efforts to bring an exercise pill (a mouth-sized miracle) to market. The challenges are formidable. First and foremost, researchers have significant concerns about cancer. So, friends, please do not load up on pizza in anticipation.

Yet, the mere thought of an exercise pill makes my head spin. If and when, this marvel of modern chemistry becomes available, I know demand will be high. And I think by all rights, women should get first crack at this pill. I mean guys get Viagra. I think it’s only fair we gals, especially us middle-aged gals, are the first to get the skinny on this pharmaceutical wonder and get skinny first.

Time and Money

Even if the pill is expensive, think of the money we will save. No need to buy expensive gym club memberships, pricy Lululemon exercise clothes or those delicious, but over-priced and high caloric spa smoothies. Best of all, no need to keep buying clothes to mask the bulk we keep adding. Instead we will once again fit into clothes from our former slim glory days aka pre-child-bearing days. Although I do wonder … Are shoulder pads and power suits back in style?

Plus, think of the time saved. No more wasted hours arranging babysitters to watch the kids or time stuck in traffic driving to and from the gym. And, the biggest time-saver of them all? No more time sequestered in the gym, doing those awful exercises. No more one-two-breath-gasp-crunch-ouch-curse-repeat routines. No more. No way. Never!

And finally, think of the emotional energy we’ll save. No more angst about going or not going to the gym. No more guilt for avoiding the scale. No more guilt for not exercising. Exercise, schexercise! From now on, there’s just one simple routine to follow: untwist prescription bottle cap, daintily remove capsule, insert into mouth, sip water, swallow. Finito. Exercise routine done. Fifteen-twenty seconds tops. Then onward to the pantry. Cookies and cake for all! My treat!

Exercise Pill Research

Some of the cutting-edge research into creating an exercise pill is being done at the Salk Institute of Biological Sciences in La Jolla, Ca. The institute was founded by Jonas Salk, the man who developed the first safe and effective polio vaccine. It seems somewhat ironic that an institute named for the man who helped ensure millions could walk is now working on a product that could help millions of us avoid walking!

The researchers working on the exercise pill definitely have a sense of humor. They’ve named two of their test subjects Couch Potato Mouse and Lance Armstrong Mouse. Couch Potato is sort of like you and me (well, at least me). He doesn’t exercise much and his diet consists of mostly fat and sugar. He’s lethargic and rolls of fat are apparently visible beneath his greasy-looking fur. Lance A. Mouse looks great and is in great shape. He gets a daily dose of the wonder drug – aka the exercise pill, which triggers the dozens of “biochemical changes that take place when people train for a marathon, changes that have substantial health benefits.” (The New Yorker)

Earlier tests on middle-aged, obese monkeys showed significant increases in good cholesterol and a decrease in bad cholesterol, but sadly, the results of long-term toxicity testing raised serious concerns about cancer.

Second Thoughts

So, now that I think about it, I’m not so sure we ladies really want first dibs on this pill. In fact, I just remembered a cautionary story, more a rule of thumb, a doctor friend of mine outlined about prescribing new medication:

“First I wait six months to see if any concerns are raised. Only then do I start prescribing it to patients and even then, only to patients I’m not particularly close to. After a year, if no significant side effects have yet to be identified, I prescribe it to patients I like. After two years, I’ll give it to family members, and then, only after three years, if the medicine still checks out OK, I’ll take it myself.”

So, ladies, what do you think? Should we let the guys go first? Maybe we should at least let some of our relatives try it before we do, you know the ones we’re not so fond of?


Image Credit: The New Yorker, November 6, 2017

Karen Galatz

A former newspaper and television journalist, my national news credentials include the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour and the Nightly Business Report. I created, produced, and anchored a ground-breaking business news broadcast for PBS stations in Nevada, an effort that led to an Edward R. Murrow award and an Emmy nomination. Now based in Berkeley, Ca., I am writing a collection of short stories and personal essays. I am the author of Muddling through Middle Age, a weekly humor blog, recently featured on the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop website.

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8 Responses to The Exercise Pill: One Swallow, Then Svelte

  1. April 14, 2018 at 8:13 am

    Your friend sounds like a terrific doctor.

    • April 16, 2018 at 8:52 pm

      He is a unique fellow!

  2. Bill Spencer
    April 13, 2018 at 6:19 am

    Gym dandy!

  3. April 13, 2018 at 1:36 am

    In L. Frank Baum’s Oz books, the Oz University develops pills that allow the students to learn anything instantly, so they can spend all their time at sports. I think I prefer your way of doing it better.

    • April 16, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      I’d welcome a “smart” pill any day … but I’d probably forget to take it! Oh, well.

      • April 19, 2018 at 3:05 am

        You could start with a memory pill. Of course, you’d have to remember to take *that*. Hm…..

  4. April 12, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    I wonder if my Flexplan will cover this? I would buy it in a second. I will be the guinea pig. So funny!

    • April 12, 2018 at 9:58 pm

      And I bet it pairs well with chocolate cake! What could be more perfect?

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