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  • Writer's pictureAubrey Harris

How Your Allostatic Load is Affecting Your Body & Goals

As the saying goes, health is wealth. However, streamlined avenues for getting healthy don’t always consider the complexities of genetics.

For example, Black and Brown communities bear a significantly greater allostatic load (wear and tear on the body from chronic/repetitive stress over time).

This includes ancestral/genetic influences such as slavery, racism, and continuous disenfranchisement.

We are often in a state of higher arousal due to a lack of adequate resources, increased adversity, and/or daily interactions that cause emotional distress.

Though we have had to remain resilient, this inevitably impacts our body’s stress-tolerance and awareness of controllability.

Our genetic load reinforces life-long patterns and habits reflected through our diet, exercise, substance use, and physiological reactivity.

So how does this affect our physical health and goals?

Performance: All workouts are not the same; overloading activities such as weight lifting and strenuous cardio may create more allostatic friction and fatigue resulting in long-term injuries/illness. If this is your preferred form of activity, be mindful that you’re getting adequate rest and tending to signals of discomfort in your body.

Results: Challenging the body is a healthy and gratifying practice. However, if you’re experiencing an inability to lose weight or plateau, your stress tolerance may be at capacity. Consider being more gentle with yourself in these moments rather than going harder.

Stress Displacement: The development of skin/food allergies, anxiety/depression, pain/injury, hormonal imbalance and autoimmune disease all result from unaddressed stress. When we fail to acknowledge its needs, the body will find alternative expressions.

Most importantly, this insight signifies that we need to learn from our body and do what works for us.

This may mean leaving behind the fitness fads and aesthetics to embrace an individualized health routine that creates mental, emotional and physical equilibrium for YOU.

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