Recent experiments conducted at the Health and Human Performance Lab at the University of Houston have unveiled a groundbreaking discovery in the field of metabolic health. By using a muscle in your lower leg, this exercise can regulate blood sugar better than traditional methods like weight loss, diet, and low- to moderate-intensity daily exercise. Called the “soleus pushup”, this metabolism-boosting technique can be performed while sitting, making it a perfect option for those who spend a considerable amount of time sitting. Considering that the average American spends 10 hours a day in a sedentary position, this exercise is a simple yet effective way to combat the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle.
Located on the posterior lower leg, the soleus muscle is essential for maintaining balance while standing and is also involved in walking and running. What distinguishes this muscle from others is its unique method of obtaining energy. Unlike many muscles that rely on glycogen stores, the soleus utilizes a combination of glucose and lipoproteins from the bloodstream. Additionally, the soleus can sustain elevated oxidative metabolism for an extended period of time when activated properly, serving as an intriguing area for further exploration in the study of metabolism.
A team of researchers at the University of Houston conducted a study on sedentary participants who engaged in the soleus pushup after consuming glucose. The results indicate that the blood glucose levels can decrease by approximately 52% through just one session of soleus muscle contractions. Additionally, the study has discovered that the exercise decreased insulin release from the pancreas by 60%. These findings offer valuable insights into blood sugar regulation through physical exercise.
The intensity of activation witnessed is comparable to the aftermath of exercise and other therapies. No known therapeutic method can surpass the elevation of metabolic rate achieved by persistent activation of the soleus muscle, even the most powerful pharmaceuticals. Moreover, maintaining the activation of the soleus muscle resulted in a two-fold increase in fat metabolism and a decline in blood triglyceride levels.
Utilizing the soleus pushup is a simple yet effective exercise. Anytime you are sitting such as while watching television or using a computer you can do this exercise at the same time. Begin by sitting with your feet flat on the ground and your body comfortably at ease. With the front of your foot planted firmly, elevate your heels to their maximum range of motion before easing them back down to the floor. Continue to perform this movement.
In order to obtain the most benefits from the movement, wearable technology and expertise are used. Nevertheless, researchers are developing guidelines to teach accurate technique without special equipment. This research highlights the untapped potential of targeting small, highly oxidative muscles to improve blood sugar control in those who have a sedentary lifestyle. It is akin to finding a new organ – it exists and we are beginning to understand how it can be used to promote optimal health.
To view the original scientific study click below:
A potent physiological method to magnify and sustain soleus oxidative metabolism improves glucose and lipid regulation