COVID-19 Editor's Column

Adaptablity in a pandemic

By Fiona Bugler • 15th April 2020

Adaptability, our ability to pivot, to change, to mould ourselves to fit best in the world we’re in is helping us at the time of COVID-19.

We, humans, know how to adapt. An article published in Smithsonian magazine explains: “adaptability might be THE defining characteristic of our broader genus, Homo”. Here’s some thoughts and observations on our adaptability from April 2020.

“According to (new) research published in Science, the ability of early humans to adjust to wild climate fluctuations likely enabled them to diversify, differentiate, and spread out of Africa 1.85 million years ago,” they point out.

And now, humans at a much later stage in civilisation are proving that this defining characteristic remains.

Adaptability in action: the Zoom boom

From Joe Wicks to virtually every fitness instructor posting Instagram videos, ‘pub’ quizzes, teen meetups and online first dates — connection, a basic human need is being met and helping to keep us all sane.

Zoom, the app that allows us to meet virtually, is said to have been downloaded 2.13m times around the world on 23 March, the day the lockdown was announced in the UK – up from 56,000 a day two months earlier, says the Guardian.

Fitness adaptability

On Linked-in today, a STRAVA employee shared the news that the social networking app for runners and cyclist was ranking second to Zoom. Anyone into fitness it seems has adapted to running (the sport gym-goers and non-runners often describe as ‘boring’).

Online lifelines

Debbie Watts, fitness coach and founder of Mole Valley Running Club is one of the many fitness coaches who’s switched to online coaching, the classes she says, “have become a lifeline for social interaction for my clients,” and she adds, “it’s just amazing what you can achieve with a little faith.”

The club’s Facebook group, with 700-plus members, has been the hub for connection and keeping spirits up. They’ve been holding themed challenges including the daily ‘Wheel of Doom’ (14 exercises chosen via a spinning wheel) demonstrated and performed in fancy dress. “We’re sharing poems, songs and art, running 5K to marathon in the garden. We’ve also raised £1730 in two weeks for our local NHS teams,” says Debbie.

Adaptability leads to growth

Being forced to adapt will help us all find a way to work out what matters most; to sort the wheat from the chaff, whether that’s meeting up for virtual drinks or keeping your running club going, or focussing on the key tasks at work so you can spend time with your family. Using this time to focus on what matters and consciously note how you’re doing things differently now is time well spent.

Fiona Bugler

Fiona is the creator of all things editorial, she’s a journalist with a life-long passion for health, fitness and wellbeing. For more than a decade she worked with business leaders and large groups as a personal trainer and running coach and this background informs the content she creates.

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