Oh, the tyranny of 10,000. That’s the number of steps experts tell us to take each day to stay in good shape.
Ten thousand steps are a physical and mathematical challenge for me, because I sit and write at home all day. Here are the sad numbers.
I take about 1,000 steps a day just doing the stuff of living – getting out of bed, making breakfast, chasing the dog around to give her eye drops. And I walk two miles on our treadmill to get in another 5,000 steps (I have a short stride). That leaves me feeling virtuous – yea, I exercised! – but also frustrated because I’m tired and sweaty and still 4,000 steps short of my goal.
How do I make up the shortfall? Step by step, in small, sneaky ways.
1. Drink Lots of Water: I walk to the kitchen and fill my 32-ounce water bottle about 4 times a day. Total: 160 steps
2. Use the Farthest Bathroom: All that water makes me pee frequently. So instead of using the powder room, 20 steps, I walk to my master bathroom, 60 steps. I do that about 6 times a day. Total: 360 steps
3. Vacuum The Old-Fashioned Way: I love watching my vacuum robot pick up dog hair. But, I can pick up hundreds of steps when I vacuum the family room myself. Total: 200 steps
4. Shop for Supper: Instead of buying a week’s worth of groceries at one time, I shop for supper daily. (So I don’t waste gas, I do all my daily errands around supper shopping. That way, I’m only in the car once each day.) I park as far from the market as I can (350 steps), then walk around the perimeter of the store after I’ve picked up supper (385 steps). Total: 735 steps
5. Walk The Dogs: My dogs use up a lot of steps. In the morning, we all walk into the garden to pull weeds and pick zucchini (200 steps). And once a day, instead of letting my girls out in the backyard, I walk them around the block, so we all get more exercise (1,000 steps). Total: 1,200 steps
6. Hide the Remote: Each time I change channels, I get up from the couch and walk to the TV (40 steps). And during commercials on “How I Met Your Mother” reruns, I do household chores – load the dishwasher, empty the dryer, take out the garbage (88 steps per minute for 10.5 minutes). Not only do I gain steps, but my house looks gorgeous. Total: 964 steps
7. Pace: When I wait, I pace. I’m always ready for date night before my husband, so I squeeze in at least 500 steps pace-waiting for him; when the cable company puts me on hold, I take at least 300 steps. The point is, when time stands still, you don’t have to. Total 400 steps
Grand Total: 10,019 Steps
Of course, some days I take more steps, some days fewer. But when I set 10,000 as my goal, I look for excuses to get up and move, rather than reasons to sit and veg out.
How do you sneak in 10,000 steps?