“Special” muscles can boost glucose and fat burning to fuel your metabolism for hours while sitting

Summary: Groundbreaking ‘Sole Workout’ technology elevates muscle metabolism for hours, even when sitting.

source: University of Houston

From the same mind that propelled his research to the idea that “sitting for long periods is not the same as doing too little exercise,” comes a groundbreaking discovery that is set to upend a sedentary lifestyle on his ear: the soleus muscle of the calf, even though only 1% of the weight of Your body, if properly activated, can do big things to improve the metabolic health of the rest of your body.

Such a technique for optimal activation was discovered by Mark Hamilton, professor of health and human performance at the University of Houston – he pioneered the “sole pressure exercise” (SPU) that effectively raises muscle metabolism for hours, even while sitting. The sole, which is one of the 600 muscles in the human body, is the hind leg muscle that extends from the bottom of the knee to the heel.

Published in the magazine iScience, Hamilton’s research indicates that sole exercise’s ability to maintain elevated oxidative metabolism to improve blood glucose regulation is more effective than any popular methods currently touted as a solution including exercise, weight loss and intermittent fasting. Oxidative metabolism is the process by which oxygen is used to burn metabolites such as blood glucose or fat, but it depends in part on the immediate energy needs of the muscle as it works.

“We never dreamed that these muscles would have this kind of ability. It has been inside our bodies all along, but no one has ever investigated how to use it to improve our health, until now,” Hamilton said. “When the soleus muscle is properly activated, it can To raise your local oxidative metabolism to high levels for hours, not just minutes, and do so with a different fuel mixture.”

Muscle biopsies revealed that there was a negligible contribution of glycogen to the nutrition of the sole. Instead of breaking down glycogen, the sole can use other fuels such as blood glucose and lipids. Glycogen is usually the predominant type of carbohydrate that fuels muscle exercises.

“The sole’s lower-than-normal dependence on glycogen helps it work for hours effortlessly without fatigue during this type of muscle activity, because there is a definite limit to muscle endurance due to glycogen depletion,” he added. “As far as we know, this is the first concerted effort to develop a specialized type of systolic activity centered around optimizing human metabolic processes.”

When SPU was tested, whole-body effects on blood chemistry included a 52% improvement in blood glucose (sugar) slippage and 60% lower insulin requirements over three hours after ingesting the glucose drink.

The new approach to maintaining soleus muscle metabolism is also effective at doubling the normal rate of lipid metabolism in the fasting period between meals, thus reducing serum lipid (VLDL triglyceride) levels.

The only push-up

Building on years of research, Hamilton and colleagues developed the soleus push-up, which activates the soleus muscle differently than standing or walking. SPU targets the sole to increase oxygen consumption – more than is possible with these other types of sole activities, while also combating fatigue.

Mark Hamilton, professor of health and human performance at the University of Houston, pioneers the “sole press” for the calf muscle that makes up only 1% of your body weight, but can improve metabolic health in the rest of your body if activated properly. Credit: University of Houston

So how do you do the sole press exercise?

In short, while sitting with the feet on the floor and the muscles relaxed, the heel rises while the front of the foot remains in position. When the heel reaches the top of its range of motion, the foot is passively released downward. The goal is to simultaneously shorten the calf muscle while the sole is naturally activated by motor neurons.

While the SPU movement may look like walking (although performed while seated) it is quite the opposite, according to the researchers. When walking, the body is designed to reduce the amount of energy used, due to how the sole moves. Hamilton’s method turns that on its head and makes the sole use as much energy as possible for a long time.

“Outsole push-ups look simple on the outside, but sometimes what we see with the naked eye is not the whole story. It is a very specific movement that currently requires wearable technology and expertise to improve health benefits,” Hamilton said.

Additional publications in the works focus on how to properly guide people to learn this single movement, but without the sophisticated lab equipment used in this latest study.

Credit: University of Houston

The researchers were quick to point out that this isn’t a new fitness or diet tip for this month. It is a powerful physiological movement that takes advantage of the unique features of the sole.

A potential first step toward healthcare breakthrough

Hamilton calls it the “most important study” ever completed at Hamilton University’s Laboratory of Metabolism Innovations, and said the discovery could be a solution to a variety of health problems caused by spending hours each day living with an extremely low muscle metabolism, brought on by inactivity. . The average American sits about 10 hours a day.

Regardless of a person’s level of physical activity, excessive sitting has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and more. More than half of American adults, and 80% of people over 65, have metabolic problems caused by either diabetes or prediabetes.

A low metabolic rate while sitting is particularly troublesome for people at risk for age-related metabolic diseases such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Inactive muscles require less energy than most people understand, Hamilton said, saying it’s “one of the most fundamental, but overlooked problems” guiding the way toward discovering metabolic solutions to help prevent some chronic age-related diseases.

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“All 600 muscles combined typically contribute only about 15% of the entire body’s oxidative metabolism within three hours after eating carbohydrates. Despite the fact that sole is only 1% of body weight, it is able to raise the metabolic rate during contractions. SPU to double, and sometimes even triple, carbohydrate oxidation in the entire body.

We are not aware of any current or promising drugs that come close to increasing and maintaining whole-body oxidative metabolism at this scale.”

About this metabolism research news

author: Laurie Fickman
source: University of Houston
Contact: Laurie Fickman – University of Houston
picture: Photo credited to the University of Houston

original search: open access.
An effective physiological method to augment and sustain oxidative metabolism of the sole improves glucose and lipid regulationWritten by Mark Hamilton et al. iScience


An effective physiological method to augment and sustain oxidative metabolism of the sole improves glucose and lipid regulation

The slow oxidative muscle, most notably the sole, is well equipped with the molecular machinery for regulating blood-borne substrates.

However, the entire human muscular system accounts for only 15% of the body’s oxidative metabolism of glucose at resting energy expenditure, despite being the largest mass of lean tissue in the body.

We found that human soleus muscle could raise local oxidative metabolism to high levels for hours without fatigue, during a type of sole-dominant activity while seated, even in unfit volunteers. Muscle biopsies revealed that there was minimal glycogen use.

Amplification of otherwise negligible local energy expenditure with isolated contractions improved VLDL triglyceride and glucose homeostasis by a significant amount, eg, 52% less than a postprandial glucose excursion (∼50 mg/dL lower between 1 and 2 h) with 60% less Less hyperinsulinemia.

Targeting a small oxidative muscle mass (∼1% of body mass) with local contractile activity is an effective way to improve systemic metabolic regulation while prolonging the benefits of oxidative metabolism.