Public Health

The Principle of 3 Fun Things

What makes a good day? Is it when you play hooky from work, and escape to the beach? Is it when the sun is out after a week of solid rain? Is it defined by going out to eat at your favorite restaurant? Perhaps it’s when you hang out with friend that you haven’t seen in a while?

What criteria do you use to judge the quality of a day?

For me, it’s a simple question: Did I do three fun physical activities today?

I call it my Principle of 3 Fun Things. And, it was something that I stumbled upon in my early twenties.

No matter what other circumstances are going on, if I can tally doing three different types of exercise, than it was a stellar day.

We’re not talking, crazy off-the-wall activities either. I’m not living the Point Break lifestyle out here in Portland. BASE jumping, motorcycle racing, and big wave surfing, aren’t my thing.

It’s much more mundane than that.

Did I walk the dogs with my wife? Did I hang on my gymnastics rings? Did I kick about on my skateboard?

Any combo of movement will do the trick.

It could be going for a morning jog, hitting the bouldering gym after lunch, and then doing some yoga at night. Biking to the store for groceries, messing around on the parallettes, and then stretching during a movie could work too. Often, it’s jamming through a garage workout, walking through the neighborhood, and then doing mobility drills after dinner.

Of course, the Principle of 3 Fun Things doesn’t rely on any sensors or digital counters to log the movement. It’s 100% analog.

The activities are never planned out strictly. They just happen organically. How I’m feeling that day, and what else is going on in life generally determines what type of movement occurs.

To be honest, hitting the goal of three fun things rarely happens on a daily basis. In fact, it probably only occurs a handful of times per month. I end up doing at least one, often two, different types of movement or exercise each day, but three is often a stretch.

If I’ve done two different activities, and there is still time in the day, a little mental alarm goes off:

You still have time! Jam over to the park to train some plyometics. Work on your front lever progression. Do some kettlebell swings.

Squeeze in ONE MORE type movement, and TODAY WILL HAVE BEEN A KICK-BUTT DAY!

I know it probably sounds like I’m an obsessive exerciser, but it’s not like that.

Like many of you, I simply love to move.

Life presents so many barriers to how and when you use your body. You get trapped behind a desk. You get stuck in traffic.

Before you know it, you’re suffering from movement poverty.

Don’t think about the Principle of 3 Fun Things as a fitness ultimatum. It’s not meant to help you lose weight or get in better shape. There is no shame in failure for this one.

Think of it as a lifestyle goal. Our bodies crave movement. Giving in to this craving is one of the best pleasures we can enjoy.

There are already so many other exercise guidelines out there, and there is no need for you to be bogged down by another one. Instead, let the Principle of 3 Fun Things sit on a shelf in the back of your mind. Let it whisper to you, encouraging a diverse and entertaining take on fitness.

Let’s see if we can do 3 fun physical activities today.

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