Is a gym or health club the best way of keeping fit? Or is brisk walking, climbing stairs better?

This is an IELTS Writing Test Task 2 Essay question asked this month, with a sample answer which provides some ideas on how to approach the task.

IELTS Writing Task 2

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task. Write about the following topic:

Most people say the best way of keeping fit is through health clubs/gyms. But others say ordinary everyday activities, like brisk walking and climbing steps can be effective as well.

Discuss both views and give your opinion. Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Write at least 250 words.

Keeping fit through health clubs/gyms or ordinary everyday activities, like brisk walking and climbing steps

While the majority of people may consider it essential to visit a gym or fitness center in order to get fit or stay fit, this is not always necessary as various physical activities such as climbing stairs and walking briskly can also help people maintain a good level of fitness. Which method is best for any particular individual will depend on the level of fitness they wish to attain.

While walking and taking the stairs instead of the elevator offer certain advantages in terms of ease of access and no need to purchase any special equipment, as in the case of using a gym or health club, such activities have limitations in the sense of the level of fitness which can be achieved. For example, walking and climbing stairs are excellent cardiovascular exercises only if they are for an extended period of time. That is to say, to obtain the maximum health benefits from these activities they would be required to be done over a period of time which most people do not have available. Clearly one or two minutes of climbing the stairs in a building or at work, for example, is preferable to simply standing in an elevator and going up, however, the health benefit is somewhat limited due to the shortness of time the physical activity is performed over.

On the other hand, normally when people make use of a gym or fitness facility, they dedicate between forty-five minutes to an hour and a half to exercising, which, if done on a regular basis, for example, three or four times per week, can bring long lasting and tangible health benefits as well as increased fitness levels. It could also be said that greater progress can be made in terms of personal fitness goals in a gym environment than simply doing activities such as walking. This can be achieved through the simple addition of extra weight, increased resistance settings, and such like, which allow an individual to work harder but achieve their workout in the same time while attaining greater fitness benefits.

Overall, both methods offer something for those wanting to stay fit, although the degree of fitness an individual wishes to achieve or maintain would be an important factor in determining whether activities such as walking and climbing would be sufficient or if more intense physical training making use of specialized equipment in a gym or fitness center would be more beneficial in the long term.

Related: Essay - Should only long serving employees be promoted?

IELTS - Keeping fit, health clubs/gyms, ordinary everyday activities, brisk walking, climbing steps

  • How would you answer this IELTS essay question?
  • How do you keep fit?
  • Do you prefer to use a gym or do other activties?
  • Which method of keeping fit is most popular in your country?