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Bladder Control and Exercise: Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is Not OK! (For Women, or Men)
Do you have a bladder control problem? If you pee when you workout… Don’t just go and buy adult diapers, you need to read this!
An article about women, exercise, and urinary leakage just popped up on my Facebook page. And as a woman, an athlete most of my life, and a mind-body mentor who is in the business of helping BOTH men and women improve functional fitness, and improve healthy movement habits, I felt compelled to comment on this.
Here’s the thing… If you pee during your workouts, you’re not using the muscles of your pelvic floor correctly. And these muscles don’t just affect bladder control during exercise. The pelvic floor is the basement of the spine. It’s the anchor point for you to be able to lift the rest of your torso UP off your hips. In a nutshell, if your pelvic floor isn’t working correctly, you will NEVER have good postural support. This can create, not only urinary incontinence issues, but can also be a huge contributing factor to chronic hip pain, lower back pain, upper back and shoulder pain, and even neck pain.
Correct pelvic floor support is also a stabilizing force in the center for the pelvis, to get both the legs and lumbo-pelvic complex working correctly for gait. (Which means, having a healthy stride to walk and run, hinges on good pelvic floor, and core support!) Your pelvic floor (along with some deep low ab support) is a part of what helps lift your pelvis UP off your legs so you can get the ball of the leg bone to swing freely in the hip socket. And then there’s all sorts of other movement, in multiple-directions, that needs to happen with the hip bones for a truly healthy stride.
This means that learning and doing the RIGHT exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, (on a regular basis) YOU can potentially CORRECT the leakage problem. How’s that sound? Bladder control based on YOUR muscles doing the job they were designed to do.
Would you rather invest in adult diapers for the rest of your natural life, or discover how you, can strengthen your own muscles to stay healthy? (Let’s keep you out of diapers for as long as possible. Doesn’t that sound like a good choice?)
Because there is a ton of bad information out there, and sadly, many fitness professionals are still telling telling people to do Kegel exercises to improve bladder control…
As a public service announcement Please Note:
A KEGEL is NOT going to help you improve what needs to be working correctly at the bottom of your crotch to support bladder control, posture, alignment, and functional firing patterns for movement and exercise. Practicing Kegels might help improve your sex life, but otherwise, ladies, there is no good reason to practice sucking your vaginal muscles up inside your center, or for you men, pretending you just jumped into a cold swimming pool and your testicles are trying to hide up inside. (Men, if you’re reading this, the reality of the situation is urinary incontinence and poor pelvic floor use is every bit an issue for you too.)
And AUUUUGH even worse, NEVER stop peeing in the middle of your stream, to practice strengthening your pelvic floor. Best way to end up with a bladder infection! Pee full stream from start to finish into the toilet people. Practice pelvic floor strengthening exercises any other time of the day.
When you know and understand what you’re doing for proper pelvic floor contractions, this muscle support should be used throughout your day, and on every single fitness exercise you do! It will be easy to accomplish sometimes, and very difficult on other exercises. But not learning how to use your pelvic floor muscles correctly is a crime, because it’s not that difficult to learn, and practice will help these muscles get stronger to better support bladder control, posture, and gait.
Remember, the right balance of strength and flexibility with every muscle group = good health and a body that functions normally, in all situations.
Recently, I started seeing a Physical Therapist for my own personal pelvic issues. And while my post-menopausal pelvic floor issues were not related to bladder control and SUI, I can say with confidence that in my opinion, every women over 40, (or if you’ve had children, perhaps after each pregnancy,) would be well-served to see a PT that specializes in this area. Issues down in our “nether region” are not something that we spend a lot of time talking about with friends, family, or our physician. And whether its pelvic pain, urinary incontinence, or something else… these issues are NOT “normal.” You shouldn’t have to just grin and bear it, believing that you’re just getting older and there is nothing you can do to fix it. I complained for almost 10 years to my OB/GYN before he finally suggested I try Physical Therapy! TEN YEARS!!! Nobody in their right mind should wait that long to address a chronic problem. Speak up, and be the squeaky wheel until somebody takes you seriously enough, you’ve tried multiple solutions, and you’ve gotten the positive results you’re after. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! (Please don’t lose hope, or stop trying to improve your health, until after you’ve taken your last dying breath!)
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles! For each and every part of our body we are challenged with dominant and weaker muscle groups, and when things are out of balance – injuries result. With every muscle we’re faced with a “use it or lose it” dilemma. So if you don’t even know it exists, much less how to use it properly, doesn’t it make sense that it’s going to get weaker?
The first real sign you’re going to notice for a weak pelvic floor just might be when you start leaking! Before then, why even bother with it. Well if you don’t have bladder control problems yet, how about being PRO-ACTIVE to find and keep the right muscles working in the basement to support your body and your bladder. Reduce your risk for hip and back injuries, SI joint issues, and urinary incontinence by strengthening your weak or imbalanced pelvic floor muscles. It’s never too late to learn a new trick! You just need somebody to teach you the secret of strengthening your Pelvic Floor for better bladder control.
Discover the Secret to Strengthening Your Pelvic Floor… Check out my eCourse: How to Effectively Engage the Pelvic Floor to Help Strengthen the Core
How to Effectively Engage the Pelvic Floor to Help Strengthen the Core
And here’s a link to the article by Katherine Martinko that inspired this post:
Women, you’re not supposed to leak while exercising! Ignore what CrossFit says
Are Fitness Trends – Helping or Hurting Your Whole-Body Health?
I just read the article The Massive Fitness Trend That’s Not Actually Healthy at All by Jonathan Angelilli. And it’s worth your time to read. This is a very well-written article with good reasoning for learning to listen to your body.
Developing the mind-body connection is one of the reasons that I truly LOVE and appreciate what Pilates has helped me to achieve (and continue to work on) on my own personal journey to achieve, and maintain, balanced whole-body health – Mind, Body, and Spirit.
So many people believe that if they’re not busting their hump in the gym daily, that it’s not even worth trying.
So where does that leave you when you’re dealing with chronic pain, an injury, or other ailment? Do nothing but rest and eat? Only to recover, work out too hard and repeat the injury-inactivity cycle?
Yes rest is important, and cross-training is immeasurably beneficial. Somewhere one has to find their own personal happy place, where the training methods you use you enjoy fully so that exercise is FUN, and the activities you participate in not only help you stay healthy, active, and fit, but injury-free!
Not every meal we eat can be a gluttonous Thanksgiving Dinner. (Can you even imagine?) So why does every workout have to be “balls to the walls” challenging, or long, or repetitive, or with super-heavy weights? Train for your sport if you are an athlete, Yes. But overtraining regardless of athlete or everyday person and sooner or later your body is going to break down and protest the pounding. What your body will let you get away with at 20 is much different than at 40 or 50. And trust me, I love exercise and enjoy how my body feels after a good workout. But there’s a difference between creating trauma and effective training.
You can gain as many benefits from a calm, gentle training session as you can from training for a triathlon. And sometimes stillness IS the best exercise – just ask a Yogi or Tai Chi Master about that.
I believe efficient exercise with good body mechanics is vital for BOTH your “easy” and more challenging workouts. Without paying attention and learning to use your muscles and joints correctly – injury will result. (And over-fatigued muscles can’t support healthy movement habits) The magic happens in Pilates with low repetitions 3-5, up to 10, with the goal being that the last repetition you do is the very best one you’ve ever done, so you leave your muscles with the memory of how to work correctly. Brilliant!
Are you one that’s on the bandwagon for the latest massive fitness trend, regardless of how it might be affecting your health, or are you learning to listen to the inner wisdom of your Soul which can speaks volumes to help you make good exercise choices, and work at an appropriate pace to help you be healthy.
A fellow Pilates Teacher forwarded me an article from Greg Lehman, BKin, MSc, DC, MScPT entitled The mechanical case against foam rolling your IT Band. It can not lengthen and it is NOT tight. She wanted to know what I thought about the article…
The article is an interesting read with some pretty strong opinions on why we should STOP using a foam roller to “stretch” or “loosen” tight IT bands.
I have to admit that I am one who occasionally will use a foam roller massage on my IT bands, as well as the rest of my body. I don’t do it all the time, but do enjoy the sense of release/relief I feel when I’m finished. Sometimes it’s a little painful, and sometimes I don’t feel much of anything at all. I don’t know that I’ve ever thought about rolling on my IT bands as a stretching exercises, as much as a way to release tight muscles and fascia along the sides of my thighs. But I don’t ever just roll the sides of my legs, I use the foam roller for my whole body – back, quads, hamstrings, outer thighs, calves… I believe it’s important to work and stretch everything for a healthy system, and sometimes a little foam roller massage feels great after a long, hard workout.
Continue Reading ‘Is Using a Foam Roller on Your IT Bands Helping or Hurting You?
I have NEVER been a speedy runner… In fact in my mid-twenties I quit running altogether, when I realized that no matter the age bracket I would never be fast enough to be competitive and actually place, much less win a race.
Now I look back on this poor attitude as a sad reason to give up a fun and social fitness activity. I’m thankful that with age comes wisdom, and I’ve accepted my body’s natural slow pace.
While I’ll probably never win a race, starting AND finishing is still a great accomplishment! And even though I know that I’m usually slower than everybody else, thanks to my Pilates and Foot Fitness training, I’m healthy, fit, injury-free, and still motivated and willing to get out there and work on getting faster!
Continue Reading ‘Using Speed Workouts to Improve Fitness
If your goal is to enjoy running healthy and avoiding injury, (which should be the goal of every avid recreational runner and professional athlete) there are a few very important key points to keep in mind while training to ensure you stay healthy and injury-free.
Continue Reading ‘5 Tips to Running Healthy and Avoiding Injury
Impact. To build strong bones our body needs impact! And sadly, the older most of us get, the less impact (or stress) we place on our bones, bodies, and joints. It seems like one day, (perhaps in your mid 30’s, or early 40’s) all of a sudden high impact aerobics class, or jogging doesn’t seem like such a smart idea, and we stop ALL impact activities in an effort to avoid injury and “protect” our health.
According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, worldwide, one in 3 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures. And can you believe that in women over 45 years of age, osteoporosis accounts for more days spent in a hospital than many other diseases, including diabetes, myocardial infarction and breast cancer!
I’m not saying it’s a smart idea to push through the pain and bash your aching knees, hips, and back into submission to build better bones. But if you’ve stopped exercising or doing any impact activities as you get older, you’re increasing your risk for fractures and broken bones.
Continue Reading ‘Exercise Tips for Building Strong Bones
Do you worry about bone health for your children? If you haven’t ever given it a thought – you should.
There are lots of good health reasons to keep your kids active, and in our current fast-food, computer driven, sedentary society it is becoming harder and harder to get kids to move.
Participating in the right types of exercises and sports are critical for better bone health.
Not only is exercise necessary for healthy brain development and a strong body, but the foundation we build as children directly affects how healthy we will be later in life.
Continue Reading ‘Keep Your Kids Active For Better Bone Health
One of my favorite memories of working with Kathy Grant for the few blessed privileged times I had to be with her at the PMA conferences, was getting to learn and experience the visualizations, and techniques Kathy had for organizing the body and teaching good movement. Kathy’s Pilates “song,” her series of Cats, “hello, my name is….,” and so many other techniques and exercises she had to share were so very challenging, and so FABULOUS!
Continue Reading ‘Cueing the Core – Kathleen Stanford Grant’s “Song” for Pilates Students
A Mind Shift to See Your Beautiful True Self
Awareness is such a cool thing! We all know the world is a little warped when it comes to looking at physical beauty. Our perception on beauty and perspective needs a serious mind shift.
Models in magazines are itty-bitty, making us regular-sized gals feel like the curves that we’ve got or the “meat on our bones” makes us ugly and gives us the perception that we’re “fat.” Or worse, that without breast implants, Botox, or other beautifying surgeries to change how we look, we’re not pretty.
Maybe we were teased growing up about our freckles, dimples, color of our hair, how our legs looked….
I can remember in Junior High having to scoot around in the lunchroom because one of the popular boys was always making comments about my butt!
What we see in ourselves and what others see in us is sometimes is quite different. I recently wrote an article about Features vs. Flaws. Take a moment and think about what you see when you look at yourself?
Continue Reading ‘Beauty and Perspective
Happy New Year – 2013
is the Year
of the Water Snake
While I’m not an expert with Chinese Astrology, I am fascinated at how the Universe brings things to my attention.
Today, February 10th at 3:20pm we begin the Year of the Water Snake.
What I didn’t realize until researching the meaning of a recent dream about water snakes, is that:
- We’re moving out of the year of the Dragon, and into the year of the Water snake.
- This is the first year of the dawning of the age of Aquarius – which began on December 22, 2012, (the first day of the new Mayan calendar based on it’s long count of 5, 125 years.)
- It’s a powerful time of rebirth and new cycles!
Seems to me a special time for us to BE celebrating life on this earth!
Did you know?
2013: The Year of the Water Snake symbolizes healing and wellness.
Here is a lovely healing affirmation I found while researching the meaning of Water Snake.
Continue Reading ‘Health & Healing Affirmation – Year of the Water Snake