Too lazy to exercise?  In a world full of concern about global warming and estrogen in rivers and anti-vaccine hippies trying to bring back polio, science has some good news for a change; even if you are sedentary, a glass of red wine may offset some of the effects just like exercise would.

A new study in the FASEB Journal suggests that resveratrol in red wine may prevent the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, which is good news for couch potatoes and even astronauts. The report describes experiments in rats that simulated the weightlessness of spaceflight, during which the group fed resveratrol did not develop insulin resistance or a loss of bone mineral density, as did those who were not fed resveratrol. 

Scientists studied rats that underwent simulated weightlessness by hindlimb tail suspension and were given a daily oral load of resveratrol. The control group showed a decrease in soleus muscle mass and strength, the development of insulin resistance, and a loss of bone mineral density and resistance to breakage. The group receiving resveratrol showed none of these complications.

Study results further demonstrated some of the underlying mechanisms by which resveratrol acts to prevent the wasting adaptations to disuse-induced mechanical unloading. This study also suggests that resveratrol may be able to prevent the deleterious consequences of sedentary behaviors in humans.

According to Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal, "There are overwhelming data showing that the human body needs physical activity, but for some of us, getting that activity isn't easy. A low gravity environment makes it nearly impossible for astronauts. For the earthbound, barriers to physical activity are equally challenging, whether they be disease, injury, or a desk job. Resveratrol may not be a substitute for exercise, but it could slow deterioration until someone can get moving again."

Too lazy to even drink wine?   The rats took supplements so perhaps even a pill a day will be good enough.  Too lazy to take pills?   Well, there is only so much science can do for you.

Citation: Iman Momken, Laurence Stevens, Audrey Bergouignan, Dominique Desplanches, Floriane Rudwill, Isabelle Chery, Alexandre Zahariev, Sandrine Zahn, T. Peter Stein, Jean Louis Sebedio, Estelle Pujos-Guillot, Maurice Falempin, Chantal Simon, Véronique Coxam, Tany Andrianjafiniony, Guillemette Gauquelin-Koch, Florence Picquet, and Stéphane Blanc, 'Resveratrol prevents the wasting disorders of mechanical unloading by acting as a physical exercise mimetic in the rat ', FASEB J June 29, 2011 fj.10-177295; published ahead of print June 29, 2011, doi:10.1096/fj.10-177295