The best types of exercise for warding off weight gain

If you want to shed a few kilos or stay within a healthy weight range, scientists say some types of exercise may be better than others.

Some people are more prone to gain weight than others, thanks to genetics.

Having those genes don’t mean you will inevitably be overweight – but maintaining a healthy weight may be a little more challenging.

Research from National Taiwan University has found some types of exercise may help curb weight gain for people with a predisposition to being overweight.

The study of men and women aged 30 to 70 found six types of exercise were particularly effective: Jogging, mountain climbing, walking, power walking, dancing and lengthy yoga sessions.

Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute exercise and cardiovascular physiologist Dr Erin Howden says regular exercise is important for general health and to manage weight.

Here’s how to get started:


“Jogging is one of the most effective exercises for weight loss because you expend more energy. If you’re exercising to lose weight, you need to do exercises that burn more energy to achieve your goal,” Dr Howden says.

“But start slowly. Jog for 100m, walk for 200m, jog for 100m and so on.”

Talk to your GP before you start exercising, too.

Mountain climbing

This is also an intense, high-energy form of exercise that burns kilojoules and is good for improving balance and building muscle strength and stamina.

Try an indoor climbing centre if it’s not easy to get to the mountains.

Power walking and walking

Power walking is walking at a pace that makes you sweat and leaves you a little out of breath but able to talk.

If you haven’t walked regularly, gradually build your pace but aim for 30 minutes of walking beyond the steps you take during your normal day.


“Dancing is a great form of exercise because if you enjoy something you will maintain it, which helps weight loss,” says Dr Howden.

“Dancing at a certain intensity brings health benefits and some dancing is quite intense.”

Dancing that burns more kilojoules includes swing dancing, hip hop, belly dancing and salsa.


Dr Howden says yoga is not traditionally strenuous and is a surprise element on the Taiwan list.

“It may be that yoga is associated with other lifestyle factors that protect against weight gain – such as a healthy diet,” she says.

Dr Erin Howden’s top exercise tips

If you’re choosing an exercise regimen, Dr Howden recommends including some aerobic activity and exercise that builds strength and flexibility.

Cycling is a good option for burning energy if you have sore knees and can’t cope with the impact of jogging.

“Swimming is great exercise if you are overweight because water removes the impact of weight on body movement,” says Dr Howden.

“And stretching exercises are not effective for weight loss but are important to maintain flexibility.”

Written by Sarah Marinos.