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

Bladder Control and Exercise, Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is Not OK!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


Posted by administrator in Exercise and Fitness, Functional Movement, Health, Links to Interesting Articles, Sports & Athletics.

Is Using a Foam Roller on Your IT Bands Helping or Hurting You?

rollerA 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. 

Posted by Aliesa George in Exercise and Fitness, Flexibility & Stretching, Links to Interesting Articles.

Using Speed Workouts to Improve Fitness

Running girlI 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!

Posted by Aliesa George in Links to Interesting Articles, Running.

5 Tips to Running Healthy and Avoiding Injury

RunnerIf 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.

Posted by Aliesa George in Links to Interesting Articles, Running.

Exercise Tips for Building Strong Bones

bonesImpact.  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. 

Posted by Aliesa George in Health, Links to Interesting Articles.

Keep Your Kids Active For Better Bone Health

kidsDo 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.

Posted by Aliesa George in Health, Links to Interesting Articles.

Cueing the Core – Kathleen Stanford Grant’s “Song” for Pilates Students

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!

Posted by Aliesa George in Links to Interesting Articles, Pilates.

Beauty and Perspective

A Mind Shift to See Your Beautiful True Self

Young Girl Playing By HerselfAwareness 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?

Posted by Aliesa George in Links to Interesting Articles, Mind-Body Health.

Health & Healing Affirmation – Year of the Water Snake

Blue SnakeHappy 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:

  1. We’re moving out of the year of the Dragon, and into the year of the Water snake.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.

Posted by Aliesa George in Links to Interesting Articles, Meditation, Mind-Body Health, Motivation, Inspiration & Goal Setting.

Natural Posture is Key to Improving Whole-Body Health

old man with pipe

Everybody knows that posture is important, but we don’t always know what we need to do to improve things. 

Posted by Aliesa George in Links to Interesting Articles, Posture Improvement.