How does walking compare with gyms as exercise?
The participants included representatives of the Fitness Industry Association and the Rambers Association, and a public health specialist. The point was made that going for a 10-mile hike on a Sunday isn't sufficient to get the full health benefits, and the Chief Medical Officer recommends taking moderate physical activity 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
People interviewed in a gym spoke about the convenience of having all the equipment to hand, and the gym regime encourages them to keep active rather than going for a run outside. However the alternative view was that people prefer unstructured activity and may find going to a gym intimidating. Walking can be fitted more easily into people's lifestyles, walking to school or to work, although for most people this means taking walks in and around cities where they live.
So the main message seems to be, at least from a health and fitness perspective, we should all be combining our longer walks with more frequent shorter walks or some other form of physical activity. More energetic walks are better for us than leisurely strolls, although perhaps that doesn't take account of the psychological benefits!