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Scenes from Saturday + Long Jumps & Low Riders

I learned about recovery and allostasis this week. As I work my way back from this mysterious and nagging injury (some might just call it getting older), I’ve been struggling, not just physically, but mentally. Would I ever get my fitness back? Would I ever get back to normal? Those might be the wrong, and potentially harmful, question for me to ask.

Allostasis is defined as “stability through change.” Which doesn’t make a ton of sense at first blush, but means the way to stay stable through the process of change is by changing. If you want to stand fast, you’ve got to keep moving.

Homeostasis says healthy systems return to the same starting point following a change: X to Y to X. This is what I was trying to do. Get back. By contrast, in allostasis, healthy systems also crave stability after a change, but the baseline of that stability is almost always somewhere else: X to Y to Z.

As the saying goes, you can never step into the same river twice. Everything is always changing.

I will never be the same athlete I was ten or even five years ago, but those inevitable changes don’t mean I can’t be a better athlete in many ways. With the right mindset, change can force you forward and it can force growth. Finding something new, instead of returning to something old.

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