Bladder Control and Exercise: The Benefits of a Strong Pelvic Floor
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
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
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