Obesity poses a huge threat to people’s overall health and wellbeing. According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), in 2013-14 more than 1 in 3 adults were considered obese.

It’s well-known that diet and lifestyle can greatly contribute to our risk of becoming obese, but genetics also play a part. And some people who suffer from a genetic predisposition to obesity can find it much more difficult to ward off weight gain.

But there’s good news. According to a study by Wan-Yu Li and colleagues of National Taiwan University, there are certain exercises that are particularly effective at combating genetic effects that contribute towards obesity.

The study looked at 18,424 Han Chinese adults, aged 30-70, and examined the relationship between their genetics and self-reported exercise routines. The researchers focussed on five measures of obesity, which included BMI , body fat percentage, and waist-to-hip ratio. What they concluded was that, according to the five measures, the following six exercises were particularly effective for managing obesity. . .

Jogging

Jogging is one of the most accessible type of exercise around, so it’s a great choice for people who are just starting out. It’s gentle and fun, and it offers lots of social opportunities if you’re willing to join a group (Jesmond Joggers are our local club).

There’s also a huge choice of apps you can download to get you going and keep you motivated along the way.

Yoga

Another form of exercise that can be very gentle if that’s what you’re looking for. According to Lin’s research, long yoga practises are a safe bet for helping to ward off weight gain.

There are of course many types of yoga to choose from, and it can all be a little overwhelming for beginners. This article is a great place to start if you’d like to learn more about the varying forms. Or, if you’re local, you can jump right in and come along to one of our regular classes at Jesmond Pool and Gym!

Mountain climbing

Mountain climbing may be a little more specialised and demands higher motivation, financial commitment, and initial fitness levels, but it offers certain benefits that some of the other exercises on this list don’t.

Primarily, mountain climbing gets you out in the clean air and provides ample opportunity to immerse yourself in some beautiful landscapes. The perfect exercise for outdoor enthusiasts who love to travel!

Walking

There are many heath benefits to walking. One of them happens to be that it helps combat weight gain; specifically, according to Lin’s research, in  those with a genetic predisposition to obesity.

For most people, factoring walking into their daily routine is arguably the easiest way to get active. Even for those with relatively little time to spare, there are plenty of opportunities throughout the day to squeeze in a few extra steps. Using stairs instead of elevators, walking to the corner shop, taking walking meetings — these are just a few examples. 

Of course, going out on regular long walks is ideal, but simply adding a few extra steps here and there can go a long way in fighting weight gain.

Power walking

Similar to the above in most ways, aside from being more physically demanding. Power walking is probably best suited to those who are already keen walkers. But for all its heightened intensity, it may reap greater (and faster) rewards. 

Dancing

According to the study, certain types of dancing are also excellent for impeding weight gain. But dancing is brilliant for lots of other reasons too. It can reduce stress, promote cardiovascular health, and improve balance. Not to mention how fun, rewarding, and generally enjoyable it is.

Exercise for health

On the whole, exercise can do wonders for our health. And there are lots of different exercises out there, each with its own specific set of benefits. To learn more about what’s good for what, why not take a look at the benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training, weightlifting, and yin yoga.