DEAR ABBY: I have a step tracker. I am dedicated to getting in at least 10,000 steps every day, most of them walking around inside my office building at lunch. I walk quickly, often with headphones on. My problem is, I'm constantly confronted by people who stop me wanting to chat.
I honestly don't have time to talk to these people because I need my steps. My exercise is important to me. Furthermore, lunchtime is my time to be alone and de-stress before returning to the workday.
I don't think I should have to leave the premises to walk. Staying in the building ensures that I have the entire hour to walk in air-conditioned comfort.
How can I politely tell these people I don't have time to talk? I've said, "Sorry. I need to get my steps!" only to get confused looks and questions about what I mean and how the tracking works, which sets me back by precious minutes. Any advice? -- GETTING TO STEPPING IN AUSTIN
DEAR GETTING: Yes. All you have to say is, "This is my time to exercise," and keep walking. Eventually, word will get around, and you'll have fewer interruptions. Your mistake may be in mentioning "10,000 steps."