Lighten Up fitness blog: Can we adapt?

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. 

By Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach

This weekend marked a particularly noteworthy occasion for me…promise not to laugh?  I finally joined the millennium.  At long last, I am now the proud owner of a ‘smart phone’ (okay, you’re laughing…I can hear you!).  Yes, after my dinosaur model could no longer be rescued and repaired, my husband thought it was time for an iPhone 5s like the rest of our family has had for a year or so.

I will admit it: I am not good with change, not good at all.  Everyone around me is really excited about my leap into technology, but I made it under duress, and more than somewhat begrudgingly.  For now, I’m just dazed, confused, but trying to find my way through “the world at my fingertips”.

For many injured athletes, this scenario is all too familiar.  Sidelined temporarily from their favorite activities, dedicated individuals often find themselves at a total loss. They, too, become dazed and confused when faced with finding an unfamiliar exercise in which to engage. I have met women who, for whatever reason — usually a knee injury — can no longer attend their beloved Zumba or Spinning classes.  When faced with the option of trying something with a little less impact, such as yoga or water exercises, they will drag their feet (pardon the pun) and begrudgingly give one of those a try, in an effort to remain connected to the fitness world.  Usually, they will find that after a week or two, they are actually enjoying their alternate activity of choice.

If you should someday find yourself in such a position, it helps to keep a proper perspective.  One of my favorite sayings can be paraphrased as follows:  In life, it is not necessarily the strongest, smartest, fastest or wealthiest who survive adversity.  Rather, it is the one who is the most adaptable who will always triumph. Being adaptable means opening oneself to new possibilities, when the comfortable default is currently not an option.  When one receives a diagnosis of celiac disease, for example, rather than mourn the loss of wheat and other grains, it helps to be amenable to the plethora of gluten-free products currently available. A sprained ankle may mean that baseball is out of your schedule for the next month; but what a perfect opportunity to start that upper-body – only resistance training program! Adapting to new exercise or nutrition circumstances is not always easy, but the payoff in the long run is almost always a step in a prudent direction.

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It is now Day 5 of my iPhone ownership. Although I miss certain features of my dinosaur phone, I have proudly created a Photos file, returned text messages (albeit one slow finger-tap at a time), and even managed to successfully answer an incoming call.  Since technology does not come easy or naturally for me, I am embracing the opportunity to overcome my fears and adapt.  Besides, my 20-year-old is still home from college for another month, so I have plenty of expert help at my fingertips!  Luckily for me, she is patient….and doesn’t laugh!