I used to watch Bill Nye the Science Guy all the time as a child. And during the opening title screen music, one of the lyrics was, “Inertia is a property of matter.” I had to ask my science teacher what that meant. I don’t know that I understood it at the time. But I definitely do now.
According to Wikipedia, inertia is: “the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion or rest, or the tendency of an object to resist any change in its motion.”
As a child, my state of motion was full speed. Except while sleeping, I was usually moving. I was never the type to run, but I was always in motion. That slowed as I got older. In junior high and high school, the classes got longer. I got slower. By the time I was working a part-time job as a cashier/stock girl at a grocery store after classes, I had slowed considerably. In college, walking across campus was a huge chore that I sometimes chose not to do.
At work I’m mostly sedentary. Sitting at my desk for hours on end, doing data entry or typing. And though I have several notes taped to the monitor and pinned to my cork board reminding me to get up every hour or so, I rarely do it. I wouldn’t want to interrupt my workflow (facepalm.)
Thankfully, I have a gym membership now, and it helps me get off my dead ass during the week. However, twice already in the short two months of this year so far, I have had to take week long absences from the gym. Once because of a dreadful norovirus that my husband brought back from a convention, and again this month because of a horrible cut on my palm (accident with a sword- don’t ask.)
And what I’ve noticed during these two different weeks on two separate occasions caused by two different things, is I get way more depressed when I don’t go to the gym. I’m more tired, cranky, etc. I convince myself that I actually should take more time off from the gym because of my overall feeling of lethargy. I eat poorly because I want the comfort of less healthy foods. And by the time I know I should head back to the gym, I’m in a full on super grump.
Once I get back to the gym though, I immediately feel better. Well almost immediately. But I have found that if I come back for just a quick weights session or walk on the treadmill, I will congratulate myself on having gone at all, and it is much easier to come back again.
But it’s the changing of inertia. When I’m sick or wounded, I fall into a state of less motion. And that affects my mood, which makes it even harder to change my state of motion back to the gym-going variety. When you don’t feel so hot, it’s hard to convince yourself that moving is going to make you feel better.
“You were barely able to dress yourself and drive to work this morning. How can you possibly manage to work out?” I ask myself.
Once my hand had healed enough to grip a weight again, I went back for my Monday night weights session. And I didn’t lift a lot of weight- just enough. But just doing that helped me get to the Tuesday night hour-long BodyVive class. And yes, I did have to stop a couple of times to catch my breath.
I used to be an anything or nothing type of girl. Either I was going to become a model gym-goer, or I wasn’t going at all. Thankfully, aging has brought me some small wisdom, and now I know that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. And it doesn’t have to be about getting skinny or “in-shape” either (whatever that truly means.)
For me, going to the gym is about improving my mood. Something I need as I deal with regular daily stressors and also this horrible, uphill battle with infertility. When I put it out of my mind that I wasn’t going to the gym to become a figure model or to lose weight in general, I was able to go to the gym for the right reasons. Being healthy and feeling better. And that is a huge pay off.
Every time I get sick or overloaded at work or wounded, (seriously, the sword thing was just a fluke) I’m going to have this same uphill battle. I’ll be pulling myself back into motion and forcing inertia to work with me rather than against me all over again. And I just needed to write this post to remind myself of that. Thanks Bill Nye.