Discovery: A 'special' muscle can stimulate glucose and fat burning to increase metabolism for hours while sitting.

Mark Hamilton, a professor of health and human performance at the University of Houston, pioneered the soleus pushup, a calf muscle that’s only 1% of your body weight, but when activated, improves metabolic health throughout the rest of your body. Exactly. Credit: University of Houston

From the same mind that coined the concept that “sitting too much is not the same as exercising a little” came a breakthrough designed to turn a sedentary lifestyle on its head: the only muscle in the calf, albeit only 1%. If your body weight is done right, it can do a lot to improve your metabolism in the rest of your body.

And Mark Hamilton, a professor of health and human performance at the University of Houston, has found such an approach to better activation—he pioneered the soleus pushup (SPU), which raises muscle metabolism for hours even while sitting. Soleus, one of the 600 muscles The human bodyIt is a muscle of the back leg that runs from below the knee to the heel.

It was published in the magazine iScienceHamilton’s research suggests that the soleus pushup’s ability to sustain elevated oxidative metabolism is more effective than any of the currently popular methods of improving blood glucose control, 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 in part, it depends on the immediate energy needs of the muscle when it is working.

“We didn’t think this muscle had this potential. It’s been all over our body, but no one has investigated how it can be used to improve our health,” Hamilton said. ”

Muscle biopsies show a minimal contribution of glycogen to fuel the soleus. Instead of breaking down glycogen, the soleus can use other forms of fuel, such as blood glucose and fat. Glycogen is the main form of carbohydrate that normally fuels muscle activity.

“The soleus’ dependence on glycogen, which is less than normal, helps to work for several hours without getting tired in this type of muscle activity, because there is a certain limit to the endurance of the muscles caused by glycogen depletion,” he said. “As far as we know, this is the first concerted effort to develop a specific contractile activity aimed at optimizing human metabolic processes.”

The whole-body effect on blood chemistry when SPU was tested included a 52% improvement over the visit. Blood glucose (sugar) and 60% less insulin requirement three hours after drinking a glucose drink.

The new method of maintaining soleus muscle metabolism in patients is also effective in lowering blood fat levels (VLDL triglyceride) by doubling the normal rate of fat metabolism during the fasting period between meals.






Single pushup

Through years of research, Hamilton and his colleagues developed the soleus push-up, which activates the soleus muscle differently than standing or walking. SPU targets the soleus to increase oxygen consumption—more than possible with other soleus exercises, plus resist fatigue.

So, how to perform a solo pushup?

Briefly, with the feet flat on the floor and the muscles relaxed, the heel lifts as the front of the foot sits. When the heel reaches the top of the movement, the foot releases instinctively to return down. The goal is to simultaneously shorten the calf muscles while the soleus is naturally activated by the motor nerves.

Although the SPU movement may look like walking (although it is done while sitting), it is quite the opposite, the researchers say. It is designed to reduce the amount of energy the body uses when walking, because of how the soleus moves. Hamilton’s method is upside down and causes the soleus to use as much force as possible.

“The soleus push-up looks simple from the outside, but sometimes it’s not the whole story that we see with the naked eye. Now it’s a very different movement that requires wearable technology and experience to improve its health benefits,” said Hamilton.

More publications have focused on how to teach people to learn this single activity correctly, but without the sophisticated laboratory equipment used in this latest study.

The researchers are quick to point out that this isn’t some new fitness tip or diet of the month. It is a physiological activity with great potential on the unique properties of the soleus.

Discovery: A 'special' muscle can stimulate glucose and fat burning to increase metabolism for hours while sitting.

Credit: University of Houston

It can be the first step to the discovery of health care

Hamilton called it “the most important research” ever completed at the Metabolic Innovations Lab at UH, and said the discovery could be a solution to a variety of health problems caused by spending hours every day. Muscle Metabolism is very low, due to inactivity. The average American sits for about 10 hours a day.

Regardless of a person’s physical activity level, excessive sitting has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and more. More than half of all American adults and 80% of people over the age of 65 live with diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Having a low metabolic rate while sitting puts people at particularly high risk for age-related conditions such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Inactive muscles require less energy than most people realize, Hamilton said, adding that this is “one of the most fundamental but overlooked aspects” of finding metabolic solutions to help prevent some age-related chronic diseases.

All 600 muscles combined contribute only about 15% of the body’s total oxidative metabolism in the three hours following carbohydrate ingestion. Although soleus is only 1%. Body weightDuring SPU contractions, it can increase its metabolic rate, which can easily double, sometimes triple, whole-body carbohydrate oxidation.

We know of no existing or promising drugs that come close to increasing and maintaining whole-body oxidative metabolism at this rate.


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Additional information:
Mark T. Hamilton et al. A powerful physiological mechanism to enhance and maintain soleus oxidative metabolism improves glucose and lipid regulation. iScience (2022) DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2022.104869

QuoteResearcher finds muscle boosts metabolism of glucose and fat burning for hours while sitting (2022, September 21) Taken from September 22, 2022

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