All the thoughts I have trying to reach 10,000 steps without leaving my apartment

I work from home, but unlike many other writers I know, I don’t spend my days in cafés or coffee shops. I tend to spend hours on end at home alone, on my couch with my laptop, even though I have a desk. If I’m feeling tired or lazy, I might even write from bed for a while. I have a gym in my building, and I use it sometimes. But, for the most part, I like to stay inside my apartment (at least when it’s so cold outside!). I sometimes go days without leaving, which I know is kind of weird. But I get the most work done from home. Why waste all of that time getting ready and then leaving, when I could be writing?

Don’t get me wrong, I leave the house to get groceries (although sometimes I order them online) and for fun things like going to watch college basketball games with my husband or getting a drink with friends. And I thought I was doing OK in the exercise department, until I got a Fitbit. Not only do I rarely meet my 10,000-step goal, but sometimes I don’t even reach it when I exercise at the gym. (I have a feeling it doesn’t track all my movements on the elliptical, but still.) It’s one thing to vaguely realize how inactive I am. It’s quite another to see it everyday, especially when I compare my steps to that of active people I know who I agreed to “friend” on Fitbit so we can see each other’s progress.

Looking at my weekly Fitbit progress report, I’m averaging about 6,000 steps a day, give or take a few hundred steps. These steps account for the days when I leave the house and walk around more than 10,000 steps, as well as the days I don’t leave and probably only get between 1,500 and 4,500 steps. Let me just say, I shouldn’t be surprised that I’m taking the fewest steps of all my friends. But I like my indoor life (again, at least when it’s cold out)! Which got me thinking, what if I could still be a homebody and get my steps in at the same time? How hard can it be to walk 10,000 steps in one day in my 750-square-foot apartment?

The morning of my 10,000-steps-without-leaving-my-apartment challenge, the first thing I do is check my steps. I have 90, probably because I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom a couple of times. I take the Fitbit off, begrudgingly, to shower, and once I’m out I consider walking in place while I put on deodorant. Wait! I don’t have the Fitbit on, I realize. So I get dressed and grab that sucker and type all that has happened. But I’m sitting, not stepping. That won’t do, not if I’m going to get my steps done in time to go to dinner tonight. Since I have to leave the apartment, I need to get my steps done early. Funny thing about never leaving the apartment and then wanting to write a story about it, once you decide to so, you will be asked to meet people for dinner, lunch, writing dates or whatever for everyday of the week to keep you away from home and your work. Figures!

I need coffee. Normally, I would work and drink it from the couch, but not today. Today I step and sip coffee. So I’ll put on the news and walk around my apartment.

I walk mostly around my living room and kitchen, stepping into the bedroom and bathroom once or twice for variety. About a half hour later, I have just over 1,000 steps. That’s not so bad, right? Except when I walk outside for about the same time I get way more steps.

Come to think of it, I may have stopped a few times. Walking around the apartment gets tedious. I also walked slower because I didn’t want to spill coffee on my cute leggings, because yes, I put on workout gear to motivate me to get my steps in! On the plus side, so far I burned 831 calories. So, I think I will reward myself with some breakfast! While I eat, I should probably write something. I’m not getting a lot of work done. I stop to eat, edit an essay and then I send some emails before getting back to it.

I check the Fitbit. It’s like a watched clock not ticking. I’m not making as much progress as I hoped. I need motivation. I’ll watch a show I haven’t seen before and then it will seem like a reward, instead of something to keep me stepping. I’ll put on You’re the Worst. I’ve heard good things about this show.

Let’s try walking in place. It works! As long as I pump my arms. By the end of the less than 30-minute-long show I’m at 2, 798 steps. Not bad. I’ll take a quick break to do more work.

A few minutes later and I’m starting to worry again. I need to step it up (pun intended, don’t judge me!) if I want to get 10,000 before leaving my apartment for dinner. I definitely don’t want to have to start over tomorrow if I fail. What about jumping jacks? Yes! My Fitbit logs 10 jumping jacks as 20 steps! So I do 100. My calves are burning and I’m embarrassed at how winded I am, but now I’m at 3,015 steps. Whew! Need some water, walking to kitchen. While I’m here, I’m going to grab some fruit snacks. OK, let’s try more T.V. This show is super funny, but walking in place is getting boring, so I walk around the living room and kitchen again. Step count: 4,587. That’s 5, 413 steps to go. More jumping jacks it is.

I’m tired. My calves hurt. It’s well into the afternoon, and I’m not even halfway to my step goal. This was a bad idea. This shouldn’t be so hard. Maybe I should leave the house more? Exercise more? Not only am I getting basically no work done, but I also haven’t folded laundry or unloaded the dishwasher, like I hoped.

I know what to do! I’ll eat some Nutty Bars for motivation. Walking to the kitchen gets me more steps, after all, and I can eat these while walking.

Yum, I love these chocolate peanut butter bars of goodness. Time for more jumping jacks. I’m passed 5,000 now. I need to try something else, like an exercise video!

I find a seven-minute workout app I want to try, so I move the coffee table to clear enough space and then press play. First up, more jumping jacks! For 30 seconds, then a 10-second rest, followed by 30 seconds of wall sits, which I skip because doing them would do nothing for my goal. Up next are 30 seconds of push-ups, which for some reason I decide to do, followed by step-ups. I don’t have anything in my apartment quickly accessible that I’m not afraid I’ll break or be loud enough to piss off my downstairs neighbors by stepping on over and over again. I didn’t think this through.

After the rest period comes squats. I’m surprised they actually count as steps! Next up are triceps dips, I’ll pass. Plank, no thank you. Then I do some high knees, followed by lunges. Push-up and rotation, what the heck is this? Hard pass. Side plank? I think it’s about time for a new video. Thank goodness, it’s over, but I only have a few hundred steps to show for it! I’m at 5,724 steps.

I find a seven-minute cardio workout, which I think will give me more steps than the last one I tried. For this, I do 30-second-bursts of sliders, arm crossover jumps, burpees and in a couple of minutes I feel like Amy Schumer trying to do the cheerleading routine in Trainwreck. But I’m not done! More jumping jacks, and then lateral something rather. Essentially, I’m five and a half minutes in, all sweaty, and not earning nearly enough steps to make this even remotely worth the effort. I do some bunny hop exercise, but don’t even try to complete a bear spin. I have never heard of a bear spin, and today will not be the day I try to do one. Finally, the video ends.

I hate you, Random Fitness App. I’m going to lie on the floor in defeat for a little while. Cursing the day I came up with this story idea, I glance at my Fitbit. It says 6,101 steps.

Maybe I should just straight up walk around the apartment with NO breaks, because — who am I kidding? — I’ve taken a lot of breaks. I’ll walk for a half hour and see how that goes.

Wow! In just 30 minutes, without taking any breaks (I stopped to answer one text, just one!) and I’m at 8,814. It helped when I pumped my arms more, and walked around the apartment, rather than in place. Back to walking. I’m getting closer and closer.

I DID IT!!! I walked 10,000 steps! Ironically, the first thing I do when I reach my goal is jump up and down, even though my calves ache from all those jumping jacks. It took me between five and six hours to reach 10,000 steps on my Fitbit without leaving my apartment. By the end of the night, after ending my self-imposed time indoors and walking to and from a restaurant, I finished at around 14,000 steps. I know what you’re thinking. I should probably leave my apartment more. Or, at least go a floor down to the gym inside my building. Lesson learned, but at least I know I can stay inside if I want to!

(Image via the author)

Filed Under