Strangely enough, there have been several facets of my life that seem to have actually improved during this pandemic. Moving from a fairly structured routine, that was governed by a variety of activities to our new normal where many activities are no longer available to us, has led to the creation of more flexible and adaptive aspects of daily living.
Exercise can take place outside when the weather permits and when it doesn’t then creating in home workouts has been necessary. Using exercise equipment like the rebounder that was gathering dust in storage and trying out a skipping rope after a twenty year hiatus have proven interesting to say the least. After initially fumbling my way through how to use both of these newly re-discovered pieces of equipment, I have discovered new muscles and a better sense of balance.
Overall, my physical health seems better and it likely can be attributed to having developed a new physical routine that has begun to challenge muscle groups that previously had begun to plateau. Doing some cursory google research has led me to understand that our bodies will plateau typically after a 6-8 week period of exercise sameness and unless you adjust and change things up, you no longer reap the benefits you may be hoping for. My former routine had become stagnant and I hadn’t even realized it.
So that got me thinking about plateaus, and other daily routines, and I wondered if our bodies require constant change in order to grow and stay healthy, this must be similar to what our brains need. Sure enough, greater cognitive flexibility is a precursor to a healthier brain and contributes to the neuroplasticity which helps us age “well”. How do we acquire cognitive flexibility? By having to adjust and adapt to changes, to having more opportunities to problem solve and to learning new skills and tasks.
Given that the coronavirus has been an ever present disruptor in our lives, we have all been forced to pivot, to adapt, and to adjust to the myriad of ways in which our lives have changed. Problem solving at times, seems to be a daily occurrence as many of our “old” ways of doing things have disappeared or are no longer available to us. Problem solving is critical for improved cognitive flexibility and it sparks creativity. Bonus!
Many of us have had to lean in to both learning and using technology in new and novel ways and for some of us, just learning to use it period. It has been fascinating to pay attention to the many new skills belonging to the technology realm that I have not only begun learning about but using with some proficiency. It has certainly enhanced some of the activities that I love such as reading and in my writing practice.
After reflecting on these changes in my life, I realize that these are valuable lessons that I have received as a result of the chaos that is occurring in this time. Seems there is a true silver lining in spite of these challenging times, and one that should be paid attention to for the long term. Hope you have discovered your own lessons learned during our time at home.
Stay healthy and well!