For those whose significant weight gain is compounded by genetic effects, losing the excess kilos can be incredibly challenging. Obesity is a complicated health issue as it’s caused by genetics, lifestyle habits, diet and the interplay between all three factors.

However, a new study may give hope to those struggling with weight loss even after adhering to a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Regular exercise found to be beneficial but jogging is the key

Published in the journal PLOS Genetics researchers from the National Taiwan University observed the link between the individual’s genetics and their exercise routines in 18,424 Han Chinese adults.

Five measures of obesity were analysed in the participants aged 30 to 70 years old. This included body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage, waist circumference, hip circumference and waist-to-hip ratio.

Researchers found regular physical activity to reduce the genetic effects on 4 out of the 5 obesity measures excluding the waist-to-hip ratio. However, it was regular jogging that proved the best type of exercise having a positive influence on all five measures of obesity.

The new study shows walking, power walking, mountain climbing, dancing and long yoga practices as having an impact on BMI results in those individuals who are susceptible to obesity. An exercise program consisting of these kinds of exercises may reduce the likelihood of significant body weight gain in individuals who are at a genetic risk such as those with obese parents.

Benefits of exercise and your metabolic risks

It’s no secret frequent physical activity has a beneficial impact on our waistlines. In fact, there have been many previous studies that show regular exercise can slow down the rise in our BMI, even in those individuals with obesity genes. But this new study is the first to consider the four other measures of obesity which are more relevant to our overall health than BMI alone.

BMI is a controversial obesity measure as it doesn’t take into account lean body mass or identify central obesity which is considered to be one of the most predominant risk factors for metabolic syndrome.

The hip circumference measurement, on the other hand, is a much more useful predictor.

The other factors key in metabolic syndrome include high blood pressure, central adiposity, high triglyceride levels, reduced HDL levels and increased sugar levels. Having three or more of these factors is likely to lead to a definitive metabolic syndrome diagnosis.

Why is it so important to reduce your risks of metabolic syndrome?

Being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome increases your risk of even more serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease. In fact, people with metabolic syndrome are 2-3 times more likely to develop one of these conditions than those without the diagnosis. It also increases the risk of ongoing complications from these health conditions.

The results of this latest research once again demonstrate the importance of regular physical activity for your overall health and wellbeing, regardless of body weight or the individuals’ genetics. It also suggests if your weight is compounded by the effects of obesity genes you may want to add regular jogging into your exercise regime.