If I asked you to fill a jar with rocks until it was 100% filled to the brim, would your jar look something like this?
I mean, you can’t really fit any more rocks in, can you? Probably not. So logic says that this jar is 100% full. Congrats! You did a good job.
But then someone else comes along and shows me this jar. This jar has just as many rocks as your jar does, but this guy filled his jar with smaller pebbles and sand as well. This jar is 100% full. And now you look like an incompetent jar filler, which is the basically the highest dishonor you could receive in life.
So what’s my point?
When it comes to health and fitness, exercise, diet, and sleep are typically your big rocks. They will fill about 75-85% of your ‘fitness success jar’.
But that still leaves 15-25% of your fitness jar unfilled. This is where non-exercise daily activities are vital to your success. They are your pebbles and sand.
Non-exercise daily activities are exactly what they sound like. They’re activities throughout your day that are active in nature but wouldn’t quite be considered ‘exercise’. This can include walking, doing household chores, re-enacting scenes from The Titanic with your cat, or whatever it is you do on a daily basis.
While these things may seem small and inconsequential (bustin’ out the SAT words) when compared to your harder workout routines, non-exercise daily activities are the things that will fill your ‘jar’ to it’s absolute brim and help you see the most results… and you should not overlook them.
Working out for an hour a day is great, but not all that great if you go home afterwards and turn into a comatose, Netflix binging blob of nothingness.
These little acts of staying active and moving throughout the day will not cause you to gain an instant six pack, nor will they instantaneously add slabs of muscle to your frame. But over time, just like a financial investment in a growing startup company, those little acts will accumulate into big results.
For example, just walking for 20 minutes a day (not even in a row, but just 20 minutes in a day), can burn anywhere from 50-100 calories. Multiply that by 365, and you’ve burned between 18,250 and 36,500 calories over the course of a year. That’s 5-10lbs of fat burned just because you walked around for 20 minutes a day.
So how can you start to add more of these activities into your life?
- Park as far away as possible at every single destination you drive to.
- Set a reminder on your phone to get up every 20 minutes.
- Sit on the floor more often.
- ALWAYS take the stairs.
- Foam roll or go through a mobility circuit when you watch TV.
- Do more chores around the house (double whammy of productivity on that one).
- Do some miniband exercises at your desk.
- Play with your kids or dog more often.
Wanna get really serious? Think about the investments and purchases you make. For example, when I was deciding on if I wanted a riding mower or a push mower, I went with a non-propelled push mower because I knew it would force me into 1-2 hours of added activity and movement every week or so.
If I’m being completely transparent, that was a somewhat reluctant decision. My lawn is pretty decently sized and cutting it with a push mower requires a bit of a time sacrifice on weekends. And hell, I like being lazy too! But I knew this was a decision that would benefit my health big time in the long run.
Gotta practice what I preach, you know?
So maybe you invest in a standing desk. Buy a push mower. Adopt an active dog.
Since getting Dexter two years ago, I estimate that I’ve walked him over 700 miles, and in all honesty, that’s probably an underestimation. Ain’t no way IN HELL I’m walking 700 miles without him. And I know walking can be deemed as actual exercise, but for me personally, it’s fairly low level.
But I hope you get my point. I made a purchase that forced me into activity. I could also choose not to walk him, but then he would get destructive and destroy my house. No thank you, I choose a daily 30 minute walk.
Take a look at your day to day routine. How much non-exercise activity are you doing?
Remember, you don’t have to hit a home run every day. Sometimes hitting 3 singles is just as good, if not better 🙂