Getting off the couch
Watching TV can be a good illustration of Newton’s first law of motion which tells us that a body at rest stays at rest until acted upon by an external force.
No surprise we often find ourselves sitting in front of a screen way longer than we really want to. Apparently, there is no external force strong enough to get us off the couch 🙂
Sir Isaac was fortunate (maybe) that he didn’t have to deal with the conveniences of our modern world.
In our everyday life overcoming inertia can be a challenge, for sure.
And it can be frustrating because we know it’s not healthy to sit too much, that for our health we should be moving more. Not to mention that there are so many productive things we could be doing.
Don’t get me wrong. We should be able to indulge in a moderate dose of entertainment and/or screen time whenever we want. Heck, we’ve earned it.
But let’ not surrender too much self-autonomy and end up being controlled by our devices or the media or whatever you want to call it.
In the course of my work as a health and wellness coach, many of my clients (most of them busy professionals) tell me they want to figure out how to be more physically active because they know it is foundational to health and longevity.
They know what we all know which is that we feel better physically and mentally when we engage in activities which utilize as many muscles as possible.
Unfortunately, our living and working environments are not well designed to encourage movement. Many forces in our culture have turned us into sedentary creatures.
It’s not easy being active when you sit at a desk all day, have a house full of labor-saving devices, and are able to command Siri and Alexa to fulfill your every wish.
But we always have options.
With a bit of effort, we can move more, increase our daily step count, burn more calories, get our heart thumping a bit and, in general, be more physically active.
How then do we find the oomph to get off the couch when inertia seems to be winning?
It begins by pressing the “pause” button, an important function on all electronic devices.
If what we’re watching is a live show (as opposed to streaming), think of every commercial as equivalent to the “pause” button and an opportunity to switch ourselves into active mode.
Rather than be a captive audience to advertisers enticing us with irresistible offers, we can use these small blocks of time to insert a short, healthy routine into a mostly passive activity which has a way of sucking the life out of us at times.
Our goal here is to find ways to increase our energy and counteract the depletion of energy which tends to happen when we’re in front of a screen for too long.
The key is to take full advantage of the “pause” capability we all have.
The “pause” (or commercial) is our cue to stand up and get off our butt.
By standing up, we generate a tiny spark which is usually enough to change our energy ever so slightly in a positive direction.
Once we’re in an upright position, it’s time to do get out of our head and into our body and do something physical, i.e., move.
Some of my clients do a few simple exercises during the commercial or their self-imposed “pause” on their device.
Others use the time to do something around the house which needs to be done.
No need to be overly ambitious here. We want to make simple changes which are practical and sustainable.
There’s no limit as to how creative we can be with the time we’ve chosen to take back from our screen. If you live with someone, think of how much fun you could have if you turn “pause” time into a game of some kind. Use your imagination.
By pausing the action on our screen and briefly engaging in some physical activity (no need for it to be rigorous), not only do we feel more energetic, but we also get a nice psychological boost from taking charge of our life in a small yet significant way.
Each time we press “pause”, then stand up and move, we become that external force which helps us overcome inertia.
Be that force, starting today!