If you work from home or are stuck in an office, staying indoors can really throw a wrench in meeting your daily step goals.
It’s often frustrating to see your tracker numbers drop when you’re trying to get more steps.
But you can still reach your step goal, says Michelle Stanten, a walking coach, certified fitness instructor, and author. Walking off the weight.
So try to fit in a walk – even if it’s short – when you can.
Then reevaluate your action goals; It may be more realistic to lower your goals right now.
Staten recommends wearing a tracker two weekdays and one weekend day to get a baseline of how many steps you currently take each day.
Then aim for 1,000 to 2,000 more steps than that. Once you regularly hit that step goal, increase again.
To help you reach your step goals when you’re mostly stuck inside, consider these ideas:
1. Take the stairs
If you live in a multi-story home, when you need to move something up or down, do it right away.
While it’s more efficient to let things pile up so you trip less, it won’t rack up your steps.
“See how many trips you can take in a day,” Stanten says.
2. Bring back commercial breaks
Thanks to the dozens of streaming services that are out there, commercial breaks are mostly a thing of the past.
“Make your own,” suggests Stanten.
Commercials typically occur every 10 to 15 minutes. So when you watch a show or movie, set a timer for 10- or 15-minute intervals.
When it stops, pause the mourning, get up and do a lap or two around your house.
3. March in place
There’s no reason why you can’t march in place while watching TV. Think of it as a no-cost treadmill.
You can also do this while washing dishes, brushing your teeth, and doing other mundane tasks.
4. A moving bust
Crank up your favorite playlist and dance! Those steps count too! Or grab your kids/partner/cat/pet and start carving.
5. Schedule work breaks
“We know that getting active helps you to be more creative and alert and less stressed,” says Stanten. “If you work from home, set a timer and get up every half hour or at least every hour for at least five minutes.”
Walk around your house or in your yard if you have one.
Pro tip: Check out our list of 26 no-brainer ways to move more during your day.
6. Compete with friends
“Set a step goal and see who hits it each night, or check in with them to keep yourself accountable,” Stanten says.
“That way if you commit to them, ‘I’m going to take 8,000 steps,’ and at 8 p.m. you still have 1,000 steps to go, you feel compelled to reach the goal.”
You can decide to have a treat when you can get together again.
Maybe the person with less of a hit in their step pays you both to get manicures more often.
7. Use another bathroom
If your apartment or house has more than one bathroom, always use the one farthest away—ideally on another floor, if possible.
If you only have one, take a detour on the way back to work with more steps.
8. Speed up your cooking time
“When you have food in the microwave, walk around the house or to your second floor and come back downstairs,” says Stanten.
You can march in place or speed in the kitchen.
9. Play hide and seek
Involve the kids and always keep them hidden. Adds search steps for them. If you have “fur babies,” play fetch or whatever game they like to make your move.
10. Chat and walk
If you have a Zoom call, walk around your house while talking with your earbuds or headphones on.
Have a private meeting? Suggest taking it outside and walking around the block.
11. Walk before eating
Take a short walk before breakfast, lunch and dinner, Stanten suggests. It will also help you to satisfy your hunger!
12. Drink more water, take more steps
Determine how much water you should drink each day. Then commit to using the same small glass or cup for the rest of the day.
To reach your water goal, you will need to make multiple trips to replenish it.
Better yet, do a full lap around your house or up and down the stairs every time you get up.
(Bonus: All that water can mean more steps to walk to the bathroom!)
13. To be inefficient
For once in your life, take as much time as possible to do things. So maybe you stop using the laundry basket and take handfuls of clothes out of the washer and dryer at a time.
Or you clean the sink in one bathroom and then the other, then go back to the first bathroom to clean the shower and then the second … you get the idea.
14. Make it a game
You know how your child has a word or phrase they say all the time?
Each time they say this, do a lap or march in place for 50 steps. Have them join you while you’re at it.