When You Can’t Step Out, Just…Step

Writing is a solitary and mostly sedentary pursuit, and for me, it’s long been a struggle to force myself to step away from the screen and get some exercise.

So, I'm sharing this tip for everyone working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve learned to build mini-workouts into my day – and for this, a mini-stepper has been the perfect solution.

When I bought mine, it was called a Gold’s Gym Twist n’ Step. Similar models today are known as Stamina Steppers or simply mini-steppers. The ones I’ve seen online cost less than $50.

What this miniature stair-climber with tension control provides is some toning and cardio in a small space.

I motivate myself to use it by keeping a radio station on in another room, just loud enough for me to recognize the music when I'm in my home office. I’m now like one of Pavlov’s dogs – whenever certain songs come on, I run out and get onto the stepper.

It’s become second nature. For a sloth like me, that's astonishing. (Ironically, I just stopped for a few minutes, because Pink’s Try came on!)

I could list a couple dozen trigger songs: Dreams by Fleetwood Mac; Billy Ocean’s Caribbean Queen; and of course, Saturday Night Fever. These date me, but you get the picture – anything with a good beat works great.

My goal is to step to at least 10 songs a day. I figure that’s roughly a half-hour, although I usually end up doing more.

The stepper does start to squeak occasionally, but a quick spray of silicone keeps it operating smoothly.

My stepper used to have two elastic bands with handles and a step-counter to track progress. The bands have broken and the counter is probably lost in some drawer, but I’m still stepping!

Combined with some yoga, stretching and a little regimen I do with five-pound weights when I’m watching TV, I’m managing to relieve stress and stay in decent shape.

And now, I’ve gotta run – Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now is on!