Start Your Engines | Inertia

Start Your Engines…

It happens to all of us sooner or later. You have been sitting around for a few days because you are visiting friends, or have had a deadline at work, or even decided to get into binge watching “Homeland.”

At the end of the day, or perhaps even sooner, you are exhausted from sitting! And, for some of us, a few days stretches into a few weeks, and then maybe even a few months. It can become a habit.


That’s because, inside, your body and your mind wants to stay just as you are. It’s called INERTIA. Webster defines it simply as “the tendency of a body to remain at rest.”

If you look at the thesaurus for this, it gets much worse. Synonyms include laziness, sluggishness, lethargy, indolence, apathy, stupor, dullness, and sloth, to name a few.

These are harsh words for something that occurs naturally! That’s because, in case you hadn’t noticed, our bodies are great at adapting. If you don’t move very much, your body adapts to that. If you move more, it adapts to that too.

The question is, once you get into that state of inertia, how do you get your engine started again?

Here’s a five step process that may sound a little funky, or even counter-intuitive, but bear with me.

  1. Give in to it. Huh? Yes, give in. What I mean is, realize that it is just what happens. That way, you have not judged yourself using any of the harsh words above.
  2. Next, do a very little thing. Put on your sneakers.
  3. Then get a mat or towel and let yourself lie down on it. Take a break. After all, you probably don’t feel like moving or exercising.
  4. After a few minutes, try playing “Let’s Make a Deal.” Talk yourself into doing a few exercises while you lie there. I happen to have three that you can use. See below, graphic #1-3. If, after you have done those, you are still feeling like all the energy has left your body, you can stop.  That’s the deal. BUT if you discover that you don’t feel so bad after all, you can move on and do a few more. Again, I happen to have some you can use. See graphic #4 and #5.
  5. IF you have gotten yourself to a new state of being by starting your engine with these moves, go ahead and make some plans to get into action. For example:

+ Find a few more quick exercises to do. You can find some in my blogs, particularly “Antidote to Holiday Overload: 6 Survivor Exercises”, “How’s Your Stability?” And “Are You Getting Your Muscles to Multi-Task?” These are all in the “Exercise Basics” section. Or you can do some that you remember or can find from someplace else.

+ You can make plans to go to your exercise class after all, or head to the gym or pool.

+ You can put on your coat and go for a walk.

Use these suggestions or make up your own small list of exercises you can use to get your engine started.  Find some exercises that you can use at work, when staying with friends, on vacation, or at home. Then, you know you have something you can pull out for those times when inertia is getting the better of you.

All the best,

© 2018-2020 Kristen Carter. All rights reserved.

1. Straight Leg Lift

Straight Leg Lift. Straighten one leg, keeping the other knee bent. Bring the straight leg up and down, 10 times slowly.  Do the other leg 10 times.

2. Arm Reach & Drop

Arm Reach and Drop.  Keeping both feet on the floor, reach both arms to the ceiling. Keeping the arms straight, drop the shoulders back down towards the floor. Do this 10 times.

3. Alternating Kicks

Alternating Kicks.  Start with both feet on the floor, knees bent. Keeping the thighs stationary, kick only the bottom part of your leg up. Alternate legs/kicks 10 times.

4. Side Crunch with Leg Lift

Side Crunch with Leg Lift.  Lie on your side, with legs straight. Bottom arm is straight out in front of you on the floor. Top arm has hand behind your head, elbow bent. Keeping the elbow pointed toward the ceiling so you don’t curl forward, lift torso directly to the side. Lift the top leg up slightly at the same time. Bring everything back to original position. Repeat 10 times.

5. Hip Roll

Hip Roll.  Lie on your back with feet on the floor and knees bent. Drop both knees to one side, keeping knees together. Bring them to the other side. Go back and forth with your knees 10 times.

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