Healthy "U" January Newsletter
Overcoming Inertia - It's Rarely About Physics
by Dr. Allen P. Flora, Professor of Physics
As the calendar turns to January, we often receive advice from our friends or the news media to make New Year's resolutions. Often these resolutions involve exercising or losing weight. Invariably someone will indicate that you must overcome inertia to begin. Well, what is inertia? "Every object persists in its state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line except insofar as forces on it compel it to change that state." Or so said Issac Newton in Principia. This statement, known colloquially as Newton's first law, is often referred to as the "law of inertia." It has nothing to do with the remainder of what I will write in this article! There -- now we have that out of the way.
I am writing as someone who has changed my eating habits a great deal in the last year. If you are already without eating sin, you can skip this article. The article can be summarized by the following: eat as little as you can, choosing mostly foods that your great-grandparents would have eaten and exercise as much as your schedule allows.
My advice, admittedly from a non-physician, is simple. It is the same advice I provide to students who want to learn anything that I teach. You cannot wait and work for 20 hours on a project the day before it is due. You cannot wait until the day before your physics test and attempt to read four chapters in the text and review dozens and dozens of homework problems. It takes a sustained effort over a long period of time to develop your skill. We all know this. We are working at an educational institution that helps students earn a degree after several years of study.
A prolonged effort is the only way to change years of bad habits. Expect the changes to require continued effort on your part. Expect the changes in you to occur very slowly. Most of us did not develop poor eating habits over a weekend. Most of us did not become overweight in a week. And unfortunately, most people find that their metabolism slows with age. So an exercise and eating pattern that might have worked well in your 30s might not be suitable in your 50s.
Just as when you were a student, make a plan. If you want to exercise more, how will you do that? Will you increase your exercise by five minutes a day? If you are starting from very little daily exercise, you may have to walk for two weeks at only five minutes per day. But after those first two weeks, you can add another five minutes and so on until you can comfortably walk for one-half hour every day. If you want to lose weight, you might find it helpful to commit to a specific program. Some people want to be part of a group. Perhaps the camaraderie is important for you. Perhaps you always studied by yourself. Once you set a goal, you are capable of keeping to the plan by yourself. Whatever works for you. That must become your plan.
What did I do? Starting this past summer, I began strictly limiting calories two days a week. Actually, I started with one day a week and then increased that to two days at the beginning of the school year. This plan, known as the 5:2 diet, allows you to eat normally five days a week and eat about 25% of the normal daily intake of calories for two days a week (500 calories for women, 600 calories for men). [More info can be found here.] Limiting food actually requires you to be more conscious of your water intake! In addition, I have tried to eliminate processed food as much as possible. Diet is important, but do not forget to exercise. Get those 10,000 steps per day. Once you do that, try to make it 11,000 steps a day! A plan might take several weeks before you notice any difference. But once you develop a healthier eating and exercise pattern, then let inertia set in. That inertia might help keep you on the path to a more healthy you.
It's Not too Late - Get the Shot Not the Flu
Walk in Monday - Friday, 9:00 am-5:00 pm (Wednesdays until 7:00 pm) to the Hood College Health Center to get your flu shot. The cost is $15 and cash or check will be accepted. If you have any questions, please call (301) 696-3439.
New Dental Clinic
Frederick Regional Health System, with the University of Maryland's School of Dentistry, has created the Monocacy Health Partners Dental Clinic at 516 Trail Avenue, across from the hospital. It exists to provide dental care for uninsured and underinsured Frederick residents over the age of 18. Currently, it provides emergency and medically-necessary dental care only and future plans are to expand the program to include preventative care. Fees are on a sliding scale. Please call (240) 566-7005 to learn more about the services. More information can also be found at the Monocacy Health Partners website.
Mindfulness Mediation and Relaxation
Mindfulness Meditation and Relaxation is held Monday and Thursday afternoons 12:30 pm-1:00 pm in the Meditation and Prayer Room, Chapel basement. A six week KORU-based introduction to mindfulness will be offered in January and February.
Weekly Chapel Services
All are welcome! Wednesdays 12:30pm-2:55 pm, Coffman Chapel.
Yoga Classes Scheduled for 2017
Sol Yoga is back for Spring semester and will be held in the Dance Studio, Gambrill Gymnasium on Wednesdays, 5:15 pm-6:15 pm. Classes begin Wednesday, January 18 and continue through Wednesday, April 26. Class will not be held on Wednesday, March 15. Uncover, discover, tap into your power and just be. Yoga is what you make it. It can be your hour of peace in a hectic week, a workout, therapy for an ailing joint, or it can transform your life if you let it. The excellent, trained teachers of Sol Yoga will support you on your journey, whatever it may be. Make the commitment. The continuation of yoga sessions is contingent upon your ongoing interest and participation.
Happy New Year!