Researchers may have found a way to help people who can't exercise get the benefits exercise has to offer. Scientists working at the Salk Institute have managed to determine that a protein called ERR gamma, or ERRy, can help deliver those benefits. 

That protein is one of 20 that is activated by the PGC1α and PGC1β proteins the researchers found. It's closely related to others that are associated with muscular energy and endurance, according to a release from the Skalk Institute. Through research done on mice, the researchers were able to determine that the ERRy protein helps control the genes that help create the mitochondria that are needed for mitochondrial energy production.

Those mitochondria are essential to the production of blood vessels that bring more oxygen to the muscles and help repair them after endurance exercise, said the release. Researchers also found that the presence of the proteins increase the exercise performance of the mice they examined the proteins in and helped remove toxins. 

"We now know that, by increasing mitochondria energy output, ERRγ can actually rescue damaged muscle. If we can identify small molecules that specifically target ERRγ, we hope to help people with muscular dystrophy and other skeletal muscle conditions,” said Ronald Evans, director of the Gene Expression Laboratory where the research was done, in the release from Salk.

If that molecule could be isolated and put into pill form, it could change the lives of people with muscular conditions. Researchers have been working on a compound called 516 that could do that just, The Washington Post reported.

The paper associated with the research was published Tuesday in the journal Cell Reports.