Here's good news for those who dread hitting the gym: a new study found that briskly walking for about 30 minutes a day is more effective in losing weight than spending 30 minutes in the gym, according to Daily Mail.
"In Britain, it is recommended that, to stay healthy, adults should do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week," the study authors wrote. "The recommendations provided by the U.K. government, however, remain silent in regard to the type of activity that should be done."
To determine which type of physical activity is most effective in losing and maintaining a healthy weight, researchers from the London School of Economics and Political Science compared various exercises known to raise heart rate, such as working out in the gym, swimming, running, cycling, sport and games, dancing, doing heavy housework and brisk walking. They used data from the annual Health Survey for England from 1999 to 2012.
They analyzed body mass index (BMI) and waistline measurements to determine how each activity affected weight loss. The researchers found that those who walked briskly had lower weight and smaller waistlines compared to those who did other exercises, played sports or did other vigorous activities. The finding was true for women from all age groups and for men over 50 years old.
"We show that individuals who walk at a brisk or fast pace are more likely to have a lower weight when compared to individuals doing other activities," the authors wrote.
In the U.K., where the study was done, 32 million adults are overweight - roughly 60 percent of the adult population - and 12.5 million of these are obese. The World Health Organization estimated that the obesity epidemic will hit U.K. by 2030, with 74 percent of men and 64 percent of women becoming obese.
In the U.S., 78.6 million of adults or about 35 percent of the total adult population are obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"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," the researchers wrote. "Additionally, there is no monetary cost to walking so it is very likely that the benefits will outweigh the costs."
The study was published in the journal Risk Analysis.