The best exercise for weight loss is regular jogging, new research finds.
People whose genes make them susceptible to obesity can benefit most from this exercise.
A sign that you have a genetic susceptibility to obesity is putting on weight, no matter how much you reduce calorie intake.
Along with jogging, other types of exercise can also lead to weight loss for those with a genetic susceptibility, the researchers found:
- walking and power walking,
- mountain climbing,
- formal dancing, such as the waltz, tango, foxtrot and quickstep,
- and practising yoga for a long period.
Certain exercises, while beneficial for people in general, were not effective for those with a genetic susceptibility to obesity.
These include swimming, cycling and stretching.
Naturally, the exercises still burn calories, but do not seem to be as effective for some.
There were 18,424 people in the study, which was carried out in China.
Participants’ body weight and a genetic risk score were recorded.
Scoring genetic risk reflects the fact that some people are at a higher risk of obesity because of their genes.
The results were explained by the study’s authors:
“…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.”
A range of other studies have looked at the best exercise for losing weight, but have not examined genetics.
Studies frequently find that high-intensity interval training, known as HIIT, can reduce weight more quickly than continuous exercise.
Common types of interval training involve 30-second bursts going “all out” followed by four minutes of recovery at a much lower intensity.
People in the studies doing interval training lost almost 30% more weight than those training at a moderate, continuous intensity.
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).