Current ACSM recommendations for exercise are 150 minutes/week for adults. And for those of you unfamiliar, the American College of Sports Medicine has been the leading organization for the exercise physiology field for over 50 years. You may not have heard of them because historically they have focused on science and medicine, like partnering with AMA, and have not been as media savvy as some other fitness organizations.
Now, some of those other organizations have taken this "150 minutes/week" and have set guidelines for people to achieve, say, a number of steps in a given day.
It is true that the ACSM recommendation is based on an estimate of 1000 Calories expended over the course of a week and they do use the example of walking, but the for health related benefits the walking intervals must be a minimum of 10 minutes in length. And, to be clear, the research does not include Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). It is only structured exercise bouts.
To make matters more complex, the 150 minutes/ week is only the cardiorespiratory goal and is only specific to decrease the incidence of disease. It doesn't include the recommendations for other health benefit nor the amount necessary for body fat changes. It also doesn't include the other exercise areas necessary for optimal health, resistance or flexibility training.
So, based on research there is a minimum amount of consecutive minutes of exercise that your body needs to maintain health and those benefits only come with consistency. Shifting the parameters by tracking the wrong thing (accumulated steps) or incorporating daily living activities is simply not going to give you the same benefits. That is not to say that increasing your total activity is not a great thing to do - because it is - I am only saying that you cannot expect results from doing the wrong activity.
If your goal is to lose fat then the 150 minutes/week probably doesn't apply because it is not enough. If your goal is to maintain bone density then none of this line of research helps because you need to look at resistance training. Your goal needs to be clear. Training for health, appearance or performance are all very different and aligning your program with your goal is the way to achieve optimal results.
As always, let me know how I can help.