Regular jogging is the best exercise for weight loss, new research concludes.
Jogging is particularly beneficial for people with genes that increase their risk of being obese.
People predisposed to be obese tend to gain weight no matter how little they eat.
Other exercises that are good for combatting a genetic predisposition towards obesity are:
- walking and power walking,
- formal dancing, such as the waltz, tango, foxtrot and quickstep.
- mountain climbing,
- and practising yoga for a long period.
Naturally, walking a little faster or jogging are linked to more weight reduction.
Set against this, other exercises were not as effective for counteracting the genetic predisposition towards obesity:
- and swimming.
While these exercise will still be effective at burning calories, they were not linked to combatting genetic tendencies towards obesity.
The study included 18,424 Chinese people whose weight and body composition was recorded, along with their self-reported exercise.
Researchers also calculated a ‘genetic risk’ score for each person in the study.
This reflects the fact that some people are at a higher risk of obesity because of their genes.
The study’s authors explain the results:
“…mountain climbing, walking, exercise walking, international standard dancing, and a longer practice of yoga attenuated the genetic effects on BMI.
The benefits of regularly performing these 6 kinds of exercise are more impactful in subjects who are more predisposed to obesity.”
Other weight loss studies have not specifically looked at the genetic component of obesity.
Some find that bursts of short, high-intensity exercise are best for weight loss.
High-intensity interval training — known as HIIT — can burn off weight in much shorter periods of time.
Just 23 minutes of interval training sheds more pounds than spending twice as long on moderate intensity exercise.
People in the studies doing interval training lost almost 30% more weight than those training at a moderate, continuous intensity.
Common types of interval training involve 30-second bursts going “all out” followed by four minutes of recovery at a much lower intensity.
Interval training can be done on a bicycle, by running, jogging, speed walking or with a variety of other exercises.
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal PLOS Genetics (Lin et al., 2019).