Ronald Evans, a mustachioed researcher at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, has found what the LA Times is calling "exercise in a pill." When tested on mice, Evans' new chemical compound, AICAR, transformed their muscle tissue "from sugar-burning fast-twitch fibers to fat-burning slow-twitch ones-the same change that occurs in distance runners and cyclists through training." One pharmacologist quoted in the Times article says "You're getting the benefits of exercise without having to do any work."
That's really overselling it. We're sure there are uses for this stuff. Maybe when our space colonists have to go into hibernatation, AICAR can help prevent muscle atrophy or something. But if people started replacing actual exercise with AICAR, they'd miss out on all of the well-documented psychological benefits of actually running around. It's cool, it's interesting, but it's no "exercise in a pill."