Adaptation

Last Saturday, I woke up in a state of mild panic.  The yoga class I had been teaching for the last 8 months was no longer, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with a free Saturday morning (changes in schedule is not a strength of mine, but that’s a different topic).  The funny thing is, when I began teaching that class, I wasn’t sure how I was going to adjust to having only one weekend morning to myself, but I did what human beings excel at- I adapted.

The human body is an incredible piece of machinery geared towards efficiency.  When it is presented with a stressor (exercise), it immediately goes to work figuring out how to make it easier to deal with that stressor the next time it happens.  In cardiovascular, or endurance activity, this means increasing VO2 max, decreasing lactic acid production, increasing the number of capillaries, and increasing mitochondria density (Hansen, Fischer, Plomgaard, Andersen, Saltin, & Pedersen, 2004).  During strength training, adaptation occurs by increasing motor neuron recruitment, increasing protein synthesis, and hypertrophy, or increase in muscle size (Fahey, 1998).  If you begin consistently stressing the body, the body you have this week will be different than the body you have next week.  Next week’s body will be slightly stronger, more efficient at metabolism and oxygen uptake, and a bit more prepared to handle the stress of exercise, whatever that exercise might be.  While not everyone is physically capable of high impact activities such as running and jumping, if you have the patience to maintain a consistent physical training program, you will be amazed at what your body can do.  As I mentioned earlier, we were designed to move efficiently.  If you want to realize your body’s true potential, get out there and use it.

I glanced at my watch after finishing a 7.5 mile run and realized the week before I would have been in the middle of teaching yoga.  “Hmmm,” I thought to myself, “I could get used to this.”

Yours in health and wellness,

Jenn

Hansen, A.K., Fischer, C.P., Plomgaard, P., Andersen, J.L., Saltin, B., & Pedersen, B.K., (2004).  Skeletal muscle adaptation: training twice every second day vs. training once daily.  Journal of Applied Physiology, 98(1), pp. 93-99.  DOI: 10. 1152/ japplphysiol. 00163. http://jap.physiology.org/content/98/1/93.full.

Fahey, T.D. (1998).  Adaptation to exercise: progressive resistance exercise.  Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine and Science, Internet Society for Sport Science: http://www.sportsci.org/encyc/adaptex/adaptex.html