According to a sports psychologist Professor Stuart Biddle gyms do little to improve the health of the nation and may even cause harm. Braving the gym may be such an unpleasant experience that it puts people off altogether, according to Professor Stuart Biddle.
He said everyday exercises such as walking or climbing stairs could be a more sensible way to stay healthy.
And he said although past generations lacked gym facilities, they were leaner and fitter than people today.
Professor Biddle told the British Psychological Society's annual conference at Imperial College, London that gym-based exercise was often "hard work" which put people off.
"We've got to get the balance right between somehow benefiting from the effect of exercise without feeling unpleasant," he said report BBC.
Professor Biddle said that having to fit a regular trip to the gym into daily activities was simply too disruptive for most people with busy lives or those with little motivation.
"We are not going to make much of a difference to the fitness of the country through gyms," he told the conference. "We will have more of an impact if people walk to work more and use their cars less.
"We never had gyms in the past. They are an artificial way of trying to get people to be active."
Although it may not have a strong cardiovascular effect, half an hour of walking a day could be an important way for most people to expend energy and keep to a healthy weight, Professor Biddle said, inform timesonline.co.uk