I get this question a lot. “Is getting steps considered exercise?” Fitbit gamified the idea of getting 10,000 steps per day and now with the ubiquity of smart watches, it’s easy to measure how many steps you get in a day.
So is getting your 10,000 steps a good replacement for a workout? It depends.
If you’re someone who has never worked out in your life, this is an amazing goal to create a healthy habit. I would even lower the goal to 5,000 or 7,000 steps per day especially if you have a sedentary job. I would also aim for a certain number of days per week to hit. For instance, four or five days per week to hit 7,000 steps. Set goals that are reasonable and even “easy” at first so you can build the habit and not be disappointed by not hitting a lofty goal.
If you’re someone who is already working out, your steps should be considered ancillary movement and a great contrast to the high intensity workouts we do. It’s a great way to keep you moving and get the blood flowing especially if you find yourself sitting most of the day for work. It also adds to your Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) which is basically how your body is burning extra calories throughout the day.
So basically, getting steps is a great gateway drug to starting an exercise routine. It’s easy to imagine, costs nothing to start, and you can set your own goals in terms of number of steps and frequency. But once you can make that a good habit, I’d want to get some strength training in to strengthen muscles and bones, plus some higher intensity cardio to make you more resilient!