7 Sneaky Ways to Take 10,000 Steps (Besides Using the Stairs)

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?

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Christine J.
Christine J1 years ago

Good tips here. Dogs are definitely the best exercise buddies.

Emily Grey
Emily J3 years ago

i think my biggest effort to keep fit is probably always taking the steps instead of the elevator- when a metal box crammed with half a dozen of my colleagues starts to look appealing I will know I am getting unfit! I also go swimming now and again and walk everywhere because it's easier than driving in this city

Angela J.
Angela B3 years ago

Thanks for pointing it out :)

Daphne H.
Daphne H3 years ago

I recall Betty White saying she was in good health because she lived in a two story house. My 'office' is on a different floor from the rest of the house.

KAREN L3 years ago


Rachelle Buenaventura

This is a wake up call for me since my work is home based...I started walking going to a mall nearest my place. That's 2,700 steps plus going back home for another 2,700 steps that makes a total of 5,400 steps. That is for my warming -up. Tomorrow, I will go to the mall in the morning and in the afternoon so I can reach 10,000 steps... I need this exercise since I am in my menopausal stage. Thank you for this article. It will help remind a lot of people the need to exercise everyday. :-)

Karen Martinez
Karen Martinez3 years ago

Some good ideas. Last year my classroom was the farthest room from the office. For some reason I went to the office frequently. This year I think my room will be moved closer. NOT a good thing...

Kay M.
Kay M3 years ago

this website claims you can easily make 10k steps in half an hour.

federico bortoletto
federico b3 years ago


Graziella Veri
Graziella Veri3 years ago

liked noted and shared