Make Inertia Work for You

Did you learn about Sir Isaac Newton in school—you know, that English scientist who sat under an apple tree and figured out major principles of physics? Newton’s first law of motion, sometimes called the law of inertia, says that an object at rest remains at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion unless it’s acted upon by another force. Newton was referring to physical things, like riding a bike or throwing a ball, and phenomena like gravity. But this law also applies, in a less literal sense, to us.

Think about it. Once you’re at rest, on the couch perhaps, it’s easy to stay there. Binge some Netflix, curl up with a good book, catch up on email or Instagram, play a video game and suddenly, hours have passed. This holiday season, with so many gatherings canceled and people so worried about Omicron, it’s particularly tempting to hide out at home and do nothing. Unfortunately, a sedentary life creates the potential for all types of nasty issues. Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease can all be linked to physical inactivity.

The good news is that once you start moving, it is easier to keep moving. Here are some ways to make inertia work for you, rather than against you.

Walk a bit every day. Take the dog out. Park farther from the office or shop door. Take the stairs. We hear this kind of advice every day, but putting good advice into action is the key. It’s not difficult to get moving, but you do have to actually start. Walk around the block. Tomorrow, add another block, and by the end of the week you’ve added another half-mile to your daily routine. It adds up.

Take time to learn new exercise trends. Science has made amazing strides in helping us take care of our bodies. For example, The 4 Minute Workout (, and no, you don’t have to buy anything) is a new concept of exercise that revolves around the body’s ability to use Nitric Oxide for muscle growth. This short exercise routine gets your heart pumping and reinvigorates you at any time of day.

Use Netflix to your advantage. If you’re still trying to catch up on a series, turn it on while you’re working out. You might need to turn the sound up so you can hear over your treadmill, but multitasking crunches while watching “MAID” or “The Witcher” will make the time go faster.

Remind yourself to take breaks. When you’re working it’s easy to lose track of time. Remind yourself to get up and stretch every hour or so—you might even set a timer.  Take a few minutes and walk outside for some fresh air and sunshine. Get your system moving by doing a few quick wall pushups or a 3-minute dance around your office. If you work in a high rise, take a sprint up the stairs and walk back down.

Set a goal.  Whether you’re trying to instill an exercise habit or you’re training for a marathon, by making your goal concrete and specific you’ll increase your chances of success. For instance, a New Year’s resolution to “get healthy” is too general; it will be hard to stay focused and easy to feel overwhelmed. Instead, divide your goal into bite-sized chunks: try to “walk 15 minutes every day” or “take the stairs 3 times this week.” Post your end goal someplace you’ll see it every day and it will be easier to stay motivated and on-track. By focusing on the big picture and moving step-by-step, you can make your goal a reality!

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