Social Distance Stories: I Tried To Walk 10,000 Steps Without Leaving My Apartment

I’ve been social distancing since last Wednesday, when I’ve been working from home. I haven’t been doing too bad: I work, chill, stalk people I don’t like on Instagram for an amount of time my therapist considers “unhealthy”, go on a run to get outside for a few minutes—all in all, not that different from my normal routine (on the rare occasions when I decide to lay low and not black out at brunch). However, as of late, going on runs outside has made me more anxious because every single f*cking person in my neighborhood is also out and about. Staying six feet away from a stranger at any given point is impossible. I tried it all: running in the morning. Running at night. Running in the middle of the afternoon. Same problem. So I decided to kick the social distancing up a notch and not leave my apartment, at all. (Also, to be real, I’m just lazy and don’t love running to begin with.) The only problem? Getting enough exercise. I do workout videos, but I like measuring my activity in steps. So on Friday, I attempted to do the impossible: get 10,000 steps without leaving my apartment. Oh, I should mention, I live in New York City (pauses for collective gasp). Conveniently, my roommate and I had just measured our apartment, and it is about 600 square feet. Prognosis: not good. 

These are my stories.

9:17am: I begin my day with 251 steps. This is going to be hard.

9:36am: I have to write an article, ya know, do my job. This makes it hard to get up and move in any capacity.

10:20am: Decide to make scrambled eggs on a low heat because they take longer to cook that way. I first walk, then jog back and forth in my kitchen until they are cooked, scrambling occasionally. It works decently well: I’m up to 1,314 steps.

11:11am: Unlike every other day where I’ve been too lazy to get up to get more water once I finish mine, I’m going to the kitchen every 10 minutes. I’ve started making long loops around my apartment for no reason (going to the kitchen, heading all the way back into my room before going back to sit down at my desk). Current step count: 1,605. The goal is to get 1,000 steps per hour for 10 hours #math.

11:25am: I do suicides in my kitchen while waiting for my tea to warm up in the microwave (a minute and a half). Step count: 2,107. I am out of breath. My kitchen is maybe 10 feet long. Don’t judge me.

12:20pm: I am quickly falling behind on my 1,000-steps-per-hour goal. I make more tea (I don’t really want it, but it’s an excuse to move some more). I do suicides in my hallway this time, which is a lot creakier than my kitchen and therefore more likely to piss off my downstairs neighbor, but my hallway is a lot longer than my kitchen. Still not good enough; I’m only at 2,300-ish steps. I run back and forth in the kitchen a few more times. Still not making a huge dent: 2,444.

12:26: I pace around my apartment a bunch more times. 2,535. I need to do something crazy to get up to 3,000. I’ve taken a poll on my Instagram story on whether or not walking in place counts; most people think it does. Still, that feels kind of like cheating to me, so I’ll save it for a last resort.

1:10pm: I’ve tried to make as many unnecessary laps around my apartment as I can, but I’m still only at 2,874. Need to magically figure out a way to get 1,000 more steps in in the next 20 minutes so I can stay on track. Oh yeah, and do my job. That.

1:14pm: The downside of drinking so much water (to get more steps to the kitchen) is I’m peeing constantly. On the upside, this bitch will be hydrated af.

2:21pm: 3,231 steps. Gonna have to take drastic measures.

2:50pm: 3,371, but to be fair, I’ve been like, actually sitting at my desk doing work for a while.

3:01pm: Decide to call my internet company to ask them a question. (This will later prove to be a grave error.) But while I’m on hold with Spectrum, it is a good time to start pacing again. Downstairs neighbor must think I’m going through it.

3:10pm: Still on hold. Graduated from pacing to kitchen suicides. Step count: 4,143.

3:20pm: I give up on Spectrum. Nothing is that important.

3:30pm: I get an email that the fitness mat I had ordered a couple days ago says it’s arrived. Time to put on sneakers and go downstairs the three flights to check—not touching any banisters. 

3:34pm: I consider running up and down my steps a few times, but ultimately, laziness wins out. 4,315. 

5:12pm: Currently at 4,819 which is almost half (for those of you who can’t do basic math). The good news is I still haven’t done my workout video yet, which should bring me very close to my goal. The bad news is that I have zero desire to move my body at all. Maybe after a snack the motivation will suddenly appear.

5:13pm: A King’s Hawaiian sweet roll and peanut butter is a healthy snack, right?

5:55pm: Workout time. I’m debating between a 305 Fitness video (which they put up on Youtube after the daily live streams), which I know will get me to the goal, vs. Sweat440, which is my personal favorite and more HIIT/toning than straight cardio like 305. I low-key hate cardio. Plus, I can’t booty pop or body roll, which makes up a significant part of 305’s repertoire. What I’m saying, is, I can’t dance!! Double plus, my downstairs neighbor is… shall we say… vocal… and all the jumping with 305 seems like a bad idea. I choose Sweat440.

6:35pm: I finish the workout, dripping in sweat—the studio lives up to its name, that’s for sure. I check my step counter: 6,069. Welp. All that, and only like, 1,000 extra steps. I am basically giving up at this point.

I am dead inside

10:18pm: Finishing a Netflix documentary before bed (it’s true crime, why do I do this to myself) so I’m going to walk around my living room, but hitting the goal is not looking likely. Current count: 8,255. If I can get to 9,000 I’ll feel accomplished. But now I have something to prove, so maybe I’ll resort to walking in place.

10:27pm: No. I won’t go down without a fight. Back to the kitchen it is, where I can put my laptop on the island and walk back and forth with minimal creaking.

10:45pm: Victory!

While it is possible to get 10,000 steps without stepping foot outside, it is not exactly easy and I had to get creative (read: a little loose with my definition of “walking”). It’s not a bad alternative if conditions worsen and you really cannot go outside, but I would only do it again if I like, was once again motivated by the idea of doing something seemingly impossible. Otherwise, I’d just go about my normal indoor routine and disregard my step count. Or just go on a walk or jog outside as long as officials say that’s safe. Stay safe, everybody!

Images: George Rudy / Shutterstock.com; Sara Levine (2); Giphy (2)