Adaptation, it is more than just physical.
One of coolest things I get to see day in and day out, both at home and at work, is the beautiful human body’s ability to adapt. This morning, at the bright old age of 3 months, Peyton rolled herself over and like so many little ones, this freaked her out. However, just quietly I agree with her- sometimes doing something for the first time can be a little confronting. In the office today I had the privilege of helping a young lady that had to walk up the stairs backwards to get adjusted. Then post adjustment, was able to walk down the stairs and even go for a walk down the street before heading on home. However, apart from physically, how and why are we adaptable?
Right now for many of our families, kids are neck deep in their HSC exams. Although this is something a lot of us have been through, it does not change the fact that they can be the most stressful and tense weeks of their lives. They feel the pressure that can come with wanting to succeed, to impress their families and basically just to get them completed. However, even with the best preparations there may still be a question they don’t know. Students in this situation must adapt- either by skipping that question or answering it to the best of their abilities, albeit knowing it might not be perfect. Here, missing one question or adapting an answer to best suit is clearly the best way. Failure to adapt might cause way too much anxiety & stress and the problem is, it will further cloud their vision & focus and make it almost impossible for them to think clearly about the next question. Adaptation allows mental clarity. The ability to shift between tasks and not get stuck in one particular place, either physically or mentally, is imperative if we ever want to move forward from where we are; even if moving forward is just going to get us from one exam to the next.
What about our diet? As much as I love eating and knowing roughly when my next meal or snack is coming, sometimes the time between meals can get stretched out or we do not have access to the foods we want. Digestive flexibility to me means that my body can run effectively on alternate fuel sources whether that is carbohydrate or fat. As humans we have fat stores that technically could provide us enough energy to run across Australia. Some guys in America completed an epic paddle from California to Hawaii (http://www.fatchancerow.org/expedition/) just to prove that fat can be an awesome fuel. However, I do agree, the idea of this for somebody that is used to eating every 2-3 hrs with a relatively high carbohydrate diet is ridiculous. The issue here is that if you are eating that frequently you are only ever burning the calories that you have just eaten. You never teach your body how to tap into those beautiful fat stores. Now once again, this is completely ok for Peyton to be eating every 3 hours (she is 3 months old and needs to save her fat). For the rest of us, we may get stuck in the meeting, traffic or even in the exam room for longer than we would like. Although I’d be chomping at the bit for the next chance to eat, it is nice to know our body is absolutely fine if we do hold out just that little bit longer.
This weekend I plan on putting adaptation to the test physically, mentally and diet wise. I will be tackling a race/adventure that could take up to 24hrs to finish. It is self supported, it is an unknown course and it is in part of Australia I have never been to before. My preparation has basically been to get my body and mind used to whatever will come my way. I know I’ll be running, riding a mountain bike, kayaking and now they have said I’ll be body boarding down a river too. I have no idea of the terrain or even what order the different sports are in on the day. I’ll have to carry around my own fuel, fluids, clothing and my own sanity. So I have had to train myself to adapt-
I’m lucky enough that I can choose to literally throw myself in the deep end and see how my body will adapt and survive. For the students out there, HSC might not be your choice so be flexible with it. One bad question does not ruin an exam and one bad exam will not ruin your overall grade. You, your mind and your body are smart and knowledgeable enough to adapt and that ability to change is your ticket to endless possibilities.