Posted in exercise, know better do better, physical health

Entropy

I’ve been a little bit sick—not enough to stay home in bed, but enough to be exhausted, not mentally sharp, and need extra sleep—and so for your Friday, I’m offering you something written but not by me.

I had this saved on my computer. It’s the text of an email several years old. I don’t know who wrote it. (I have a couple of guesses.) I apparently didn’t save the email, or, more likely, it was sent to an account that is no longer active. I loved what it said, copied, pasted, saved … and didn’t consider that I didn’t save the header.

But it’s fantastic. I love it. And I think you will, too. And if you know who wrote it, let me know. If you wrote it, let me know and I can credit you. (And if you don’t want it posted here, I’ll take it down.)

Without further introduction…

This New Year was subdued at our house. My wife’s parents suddenly have a flood of health problems. I’ll spare you the details, but the usual stuff, diabetes, arthritis, hip replacement and, unfortunately, cancer.

They’re in what I call a degenerative cycle. One condition feeds the other. It’s a challenging cycle to break out of.

On the flip side of that, there are regenerative cycles also. You make one positive health change, which triggers another and so on.

Here’s a critical difference between the two. Forgive me for going a little physics geek on you, the 2nd law of thermodynamics says that in a closed system, things move toward higher entropy. In other words, stuff naturally falls apart. It’s a fundamental law of nature.

People too. If you do nothing (i.e. a closed system) you fall apart, no effort required. That’s the driver for the degenerative cycle, entropy.

Regenerative cycles are a fight with entropy. Energy is required and, the 2nd law of thermodynamics says, you can’t do that in a “closed system.”

So, what does all that mean for your health?

Sitting still, doing nothing, is a bad plan. That’s the way of entropy, the path of “falling apart.”

A regenerative cycle is powerful. It’s like a glider catching an updraft, minimal effort, lots of reward. But it requires energy from outside to get it going and maintain it.

In health terms, outside energy can be many things; family and friends, religion, the food we eat or new ideas and information.

I don’t know what your inspiration will be, your “outside energy.” But, watching my in-laws as they struggle with their health, I’m acutely aware right now, the upward spiral is one heck of a lot better than the downward.

Seek your inspiration. Welcome outside energy. Find your upward spiral.

Do it today, old man Entropy never sleeps.