7 Fun Activities Equal to Walking 10,000 Steps a Day

Get all the benefits in less time and with more enjoyment.

Hitting 10,000 steps a day is a great way to get fit and improve your health by lowering your risk of chronic disease. However, if you regularly move your body in whatever way feels good to you, you'll eventually start seeing those same results. The only hiccup is that it can be hard to gauge which exercises are roughly comparable, and how long it will take to reap the benefits. Fitness experts say there are a handful of fun activities that are great alternatives to walking 10,000 steps a day—and that you may just prefer them over your daily walk.

RELATED: Why Walking Only 3,867 Steps a Day Is All You Need, Science Says.


senior couple dancing in living room
Evgeny Atamanenko / Shutterstock

If you love to cut a rug to your favorite tunes, dancing can make a great alternative to long-distance walking.

"Dancing is not only fun but also a great calorie burner. It improves balance, agility, and cardiovascular health," explains Andrew White, CPT, a personal trainer and co-founder of Garage Gym Pro. "Put on your favorite music and dance freely, or follow a dance workout video. The key is to keep moving continuously."

Racket sports

Happy woman celebrating during beach tennis match

Taking up racket sports is another exciting way to get the rough equivalent of 10,000 steps a day, says Caroline Grainger, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer at Fitness Trainer.

"Games like pickleball, tennis, and badminton are all excellent ways to get your steps in. You can play these at an intensity level that works for you, it's a social exercise that will help you build relationships, and you'll take plenty of steps moving around the court," she tells Best Life.

If walking 10,000 steps would take you an hour and a half to an hour and 40 minutes, a tennis or racket ball game that requires constant movement should help you reach that goal faster. In fact, 2020 data released by Fitbit (via Runner's World) found that an hour of singles tennis can generate up to 10,680 steps.

RELATED: 9 Easy Ways to Actually Hit 10,000 Steps a Day.


people in cycling class
Moyo Studio / iStock

Next, White recommends cycling, either on a stationary bike or by taking an outdoor ride.

"Cycling is excellent for building leg strength, improving joint mobility, and boosting cardiovascular fitness. An hour of cycling at a moderate pace can equate to, or surpass, the benefits of 10,000 steps," he tells Best Life. "Maintain a steady pace that allows you to breathe slightly heavier than normal but still able to hold a conversation."

Play with your kids or grandkids

grandparents playing at the park with grandkids
Africa Studio / Shutterstock

Everyday activities like playing with your children or grandchildren can also stand in for getting 10,000 steps per day—if you intentionally keep things moving.

"Chasing them, picking them up, playing with a ball, or even climbing on the playground with them is a great way to get your steps in, help your kids to get their steps in, and spend some quality time with them," says Grainger.

Once again, aim to keep moving for at least an hour at a time to reach optimal results.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT Training

If you don't have much time to achieve your exercise goals, White suggests trying high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

"HIIT is effective for burning calories quickly, improving endurance, and boosting metabolism. A 20-minute HIIT session can be as effective as a much longer period of walking," he explains.

The trainer recommends combining short bursts of high-intensity exercises like burpees, mountain climbers, or squat jumps with brief rest periods. For example, complete 30 seconds of intense activity followed by 30 seconds of rest, he advises.

RELATED: 8 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Take a Daily Walk.


man exercising in swimming pool
LightField Studios / Shutterstock

For another full-body workout that enhances muscle strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health, try swimming, White says. "It's also low impact, making it great for those with joint issues," he notes.

Aim for at least one hour of total exercise to equal 10,000 steps. "Use any stroke you prefer and aim for continuous swimming with short breaks. Keep your movements smooth and steady," White adds.

Jump rope

Jump rope

Another highly efficient form of exercise is jumping rope. White says this is an excellent calorie burner—one that surpasses the benefits of walking in some cases.

"It enhances cardiovascular health, coordination, and agility. Roughly 10 minutes of jump rope can equate to the calorie burn of about 30 minutes of brisk walking," White tells Best Life.

Holding the ends of the rope at hip level and keeping your elbows close to your sides, rotate your wrists to swing the rope and jump slightly off the ground—just enough to let the rope slide under your feet. You'll be feeling the burn—and the benefits—in no time.

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Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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