YOU ARE YOUR OWN FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: Movement, Motivation and Mindset for Active Seniors

Energy Bite 64 – The Inertia Effect

We are approaching a New Year. Many people make ambitious health and fitness plans and get off to a great start. They build momentum and feel like they’re really on a roll. Then the momentum dies off. Why? As usual, the reasons “why not” become more important than the “reasons why”. Inertia sets in and the result is the same as last year: Your fitness program has ground to a halt.

Gyms and Health Clubs know this. They build huge new memberships in December and January. The clubs are full every day during January and through much of February. And then, guess what? Most of the “newbies” start disappearing about half way through February never to be seen again. Of course they retain their membership which is a real boon for most Clubs.

Even with the strongest of purpose, people will simply yield to the comfort of inertia. Why? Because it feels better not to move right now , even though when you do move, you’ll feel better – and you know it. That’s a dysfunctional sentence, but it’s true.

Are people just lazy? Some people look at it that way. I don’t think it’s as simple as that. No will power? That’s part of it. I think that inertia is one of those unpleasant facts of human nature (and physics) that says an object in motion will stay in motion and an object at rest will stay at rest. It blocks some people from getting much of anything done in any field. It’s static, not dynamic.

In fact, Inertia is defined as the tendency of matter to remain at rest if at rest, or, if moving, to keep moving in the same direction, unless affected by some outside force; a tendency to remain in a fixed condition without change; or the disinclination to move or act. A few synonyms are apathy, idleness, inactivity, indolence, laziness, lethargy, paralysis, passivity and on and on. Hmm.

So how do you overcome inertia? For some people it is just natural. Some people are truly action oriented, and who’s “best of everything” is done while moving. Others can never seem to get off their duffs to get to the gym, or to another a place where they can exercise, even if it’s at home. For most of us the answer is a huge “unknown”. I sure don’t have the answer. I sometimes pack my gym bag full of good intentions, but never make it to the gym, exercising instead at home, or sometimes not at all.

Do you have an answer? Tell me what it is. Email it to  with “Inertia” in the subject line.

t’s mid-December now. What are your plans for the coming year? Will you start on a new diet and exercise program? Will you start strong, build that momentum, and stick with it? Or will you fizzle out half way through February and let that sedentary inertia get you? It’s up to you!

Thanks for reading.

P.S. Look for my upcoming book, Beginning Exercise Manual for Active Adults over 60 to debut by the end of January 2015.

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