I was driving home from work the other night and the word ‘adaptability’ popped into my head. It was no coincidence, for the second day in a row last week, I was on the treadmill adapting my cardio workout to accommodate this groin pull and what I believe to be a strain in my piriformis. Although I may not be able to go full out in the way I envision, I was able to get on a sweat, raise my heart rate and even take a small jog. I took the opportunity to listen to my Spin playlist for class this week and have fun with the changing BPMs (beats per minute) and hill levels. I particularly enjoyed my five minute jog to an inspiration song, “Racing Against Myself” by Haik Naltchayan (and a pain free jog at that!). I was really proud of myself for accepting my limitations at the moment when it comes to certain types of exercise.
Let’s get real, it’s still a bummer and at times I want to stomp my feet in protest and rail against the fitness gods. So I think about all of the things I can do at the moment: I can take and teach indoor cycling at a pretty high intensity, I can do a full-out upper body strength training workout, and there are some lower body exercises I can do such a abductions on the floor and glute raises, and a slew of core exercises. I just have to be careful not to overdo any of the cardio and overstretching in yoga. The key to all of this is consistency and adequate recovery. I’m all in for the consistency piece at the moment.
It’s no wonder that adaptability popped into my head as I’ve come across the importance of adaptability in my studies of happiness and wellbeing. In this great article in the Huffingtom Post, “The One Trait that You May Not Realize Will Make You Happier,” author Catherine Pearson discusses the qualities of adaptable people such as analyzing one’s on coping mechanisms and reinventing oneself (I particularly like this one). She goes on to say that adaptable people don’t wait for happiness, they deliberately seek out positive experiences. I am also finishing up Flourish, Martin Seligman’s follow up book, his best selling Authentic Happiness. In particular, I spent this morning’s commute listening to the evidence-based argument that being optimistic is a good determinant of longevity, a better immune system, and increased cardiovascular health.
Being optimistic also has some pretty great mental health benefits. Besides the boost in knowing that we will live longer, being optimistic makes us better able to cope with change and make us more adaptable. The two go hand-in-hand. It’s a great tango and one that I plan on doing for a long, long time.