An active lifestyle usually has a huge impact on your daily energy expenditure. The amount of calories you burn going about your day can be in the hundreds if not thousands. Compare that to running a 5k where you might only burn 300 calories, and you can see just how important being active really is.
Of course burning calories isn’t the real reason why we stay active. It just happens to be one of the many positive side effects of the behaviors that translate to an active lifestyle.
Is 10,000 Steps Per Day Considered Active?
An active lifestyle isn’t a number – it’s a feeling. Steps, miles, and other numbers are external validation measurements used to give a visual representation of a feeling.
But those numbers don’t always accurately depict your lifestyle. That’s why you need to trust yourself first to determine if you’re active or not. And then if you want to track steps or other physical activity measurements, you can use them to motivate you or challenge you to push harder.
Ask yourself – “Do I feel active?”
It seems like a simple question, but it gives you a clear answer. Just because you walk a certain amount of steps or run a certain amount of miles, it doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to feel active.
You don’t live an active lifestyle because you walk a certain amount of steps. You’re living an active lifestyle when you actually feel like you’re active.
An Active Lifestyle is Relative To the Individual
Numbers can be useful, but they can also be misleading.
Consider two different people:
- Person 1 walks a 1/2 mile per day and gets in about 3,000 steps.
- Person 2 works out consistently 3 days per week for 30 minutes and also walks 2 miles per day.
Who is living a more active lifestyle?
At first glance the obvious answer is Person 2. But the problem is we have some missing information. Let’s add a short backstory:
- Person 1 is 100lbs over their goal weight, hasn’t worked out in 10 years, and is just starting their lifestyle change.
- Person 2 is at their goal weight but was previously working out 6 days per week and getting in 10,000 steps per day before having to cut that time down due to work issues.
Now things change a bit. For Person 1 they are going to feel like they’re active. That extra 1/2 mile walk might be very difficult for them. It’s challenging and they feel like they’re accomplishing something.
Person 2 might not feel so active. They are used to more activity in their day, and the sudden decrease in activity levels is making them feel like they aren’t doing enough.
Whether or not you feel active will impact other behaviors in your life that either take you towards or further from your goals.
Numbers Aren’t the Be-All-End-All
So the numbers you track are just guides. They are external validation measurements similar to weight and calories. They are used by people to give a sense of control over their goals and behaviors.
But regardless of the numbers you still have to self-validate your lifestyle. You want to know you’re active because you feel active – not because you hit an arbitrary step count.
Use step tracking and other numbers as a guide – something that helps you see the big picture. But rely on your self to validate how active you are.
If you feel active then you are active.
If you don’t feel active then you aren’t active enough.
Work within your own unique life situation and then adjust your lifestyle and activity levels to get in line with the feeling you’re going for.