Regular, brisk walking may be a more effective method for weight loss than going to the gym, according to research.

Those who engaged in “regular, brisk walking” for longer than half an hour had lower Body Mass Indexes (BMI) and smaller waists than those who did other exercise such as going the gym or playing football or rugby.

The results were particularly true for women, people over 50 and those on low incomes.The results thus provide an argument for a campaign to promote walking… Given the obesity epidemic and the fact that a large proportion of people in the UK are inactive, recommending that people walk briskly more often is a cheap and easy policy option.

Mike Loosemore a Lead Consultant Sports Physician for The Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health said: “This really positive paper shows you can reduce obesity through brisk walking which is accessible for most people.”

“It is slightly false to say walking is as good as going to the gym. It is brisk and fast walking which is as good as the gym, it doesn’t mean a meandering walk through the countryside looking at flowers. A very brisk walk means almost short of breath.”

“Those who prefer walking over going to the gym or playing sport, should start and gradually build it up to brisk or fast walking.”

The advancement of brisk walking strikes chords with the general '10,000 steps' a day recommendation, made popular by various fitness tracker gadgets.

According to the NHS: "If you walk 10,000 steps a day, you will probably do more than 150 minutes [of recommended weekly exercise]." The average person walks between 3,000 and 4,000 steps each day, the service says.