Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stepping In

Yesterday, the Proper Bostonian discovered that it's challenging to get the recommended 10,000 steps a day when there's a blizzard outside and too much furniture inside. Her apartment is just 800 square feet and there's not much free territory to provide five miles of walking, which equals about 10,000 steps on the Holy Pedometer. (I see I have the makings of an annoying high school math problem here, so that's enough numbers and measurements.)

Here's how to get your steps: Take the first few thousand just by pacing around rapidly from room to room until you're bored — or concerned that the rugs are wearing out, or you stub your toe on the coffee table. Then march in place, alternating with jogging, prancing, and high-stepping in the same spot. Take breaks to check email, pet the cats, catch your breath, and eat chocolate-covered raisins. Finally, put on some rock 'n roll and let loose. Dancing raises the pedometer count quickly. Those 10,000 steps take only about an hour if you have a good beat, like "Refugee" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

The cats will find your activity puzzling, observing you with wary expressions from a safe distance. Ignore those lazy bums.

Indoor exercise will give your neighbors across the street — the ones who can see directly into your living room  despite your curtains — an interesting show. Best to do it fully clothed and keep in mind that it's an unavoidable aspect of city life. And after all, you've seen the gentleman of that household eating straight out of the fridge, in his shorts, around midnight, on enough occasions to call it even.

There's danger in knowing you can get 10,000 steps without putting on a sweater, coat, hat, scarf, gloves, socks, boots, and sunglasses. You may be tempted to stay indoors until the snow is forgotten and the tulips are out. You'd be comfortable, but you'd also be wan. You'd miss out a lot.

Lure yourself into fresh air and sunlight every day — save leaping about indoors for snow emergencies or when you're in the mood — by choosing your daily walking destination thoughtfully. When in doubt, head for a bakery. Cake can solve so many of life's difficulties, and it can also inspire you to exercise.


  1. This is now one of my favorite blog posts ever! Are by any chance familiar with the author Laurie Colwin?

  2. Colleen,

    Laurie Colwin is one of my favorite authors, right up there with Edith Wharton and Rebecca West. I know "Happy All the Time" almost by heart. I make it required reading for friends of mine who have fallen in love and don't trust their own happiness. It just kills me that she is gone. Just thinking about her makes me want to look at her "Home Cooking" books, which I love so much.

    Her daughter, Rosa Jurjevics, is also a writer, although I think she is primarily interested in film. I read a beautiful story she wrote about her mother a few years ago and I have very high hopes for her.


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