Walking ‘as good as going to gym’ for weight loss
Walking can help people to lose more weight than they would if going to the gym, according to a new study.
The benefits of ‘high impact’ walking were especially noticeable in women and people aged over 50, the study from the London School of Economics and Political Science found.
The study looked at data from the annual Health Survey for England from 1999 to 2012, which shows how often people exercise, their BMI levels and waist circumferences.
Brisk walking has biggest impact
Dr Grace Lordan, who led the research, was looking for evidence of exercise that gets the heart pumping and causes sweating.
She found brisk walking has the biggest impact on weight levels, followed by sports.
She says people who walk at a brisk or fast pace are more likely to have a lower weight than those partaking in other activities.
Half an hour of regular walking led to a lower BMI and a smaller waist, the study found.
Walking is free
Dr Lordan also points out that walking is a good choice for people on lower incomes as it is free compared to costly gyms.
Obesity in the UK is a growing problem and costs the NHS almost £1 billion a year.
Dr Lordan highlights the link between obesity and inactivity and suggests walking as a cost-effective and easy-to-perform weight management option.
She is calling for a national 'every step counts' policy to help stop the growth in obesity.
Almost 80% of the UK population is not currently hitting government targets of 150 minutes of moderate activity every week.
The study was published in the journal Risk Analysis.