It's very common to leak urine while running. You know the culprit? A weak pelvic floor.
I like to hunt for free (and quirky) fitness events in the local area to spice up my exercise routine. It keeps things interesting and expands my awareness to different parts of my body for an all-around fitter, feel-good body.
Well, this week while on my search, I came across Margaret Treseler's group pelvic floor fitness workshop. From what I can gather, Treseler is a trained and certified women's physical therapist who is offering a three-session, $60 crash course on how to strengthen your pelvic floor at her office out in Kensington, Maryland. This got me thinking about the pelvic floor. We don't hear about it a lot, we don't feel it while we're working out, we don't actually see anything physical when we tone it. It's not like getting a six-pack or tightening your glutes or having "thicc" quads, so we often ignore the need to keep it strong or don't even know about it to begin with!
What is the pelvic floor?
Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles that support your bladder, bowel, and spine. Most of us don't have to think about that stuff. Older people, women who have given birth, and people with various health conditions do. But we all should think about our pelvic floor! Why?
Well, because the pelvic floor supports our spine, a sore lower back or weak hips could be caused by a weak pelvis. Your pelvic floor contributes to your posture! These muscles work with your other abdominals, hips, and back to keep you upright. When your body is in a "neutral" position, your center of gravity is over your heels. This reduces impact while you run and, in turn, prevents injury.
It's very common to leak urine while running. You know the culprit? A weak pelvic floor. You know how to fix it? Working out your pelvic floor just like you would any other muscle.
Pelvic floor exercises
Kegels are the most common pelvic floor exercise. They help improve urinary control, sexual performance and pleasure, and strength that group of muscles. How do you do a kegel? Contract the muscles that control the flow of your urine. Not sure if you're doing it right? Go to the bathroom and practice. But you don't have to be using the bathroom to do a kegel. Kegels are versatile and can be done anywhere and at any time! Mayo Clinic recommends that you aim for three sets of 10 about 15 times a day. That sounds like a lot and it is, but you can do them while you're commuting to work so you've definitely got the time.
Other exercises incorporate your abs so you can break those out at the gym. Try these "plank jacks": Do a plank (obviously), exhale as you tighten your pelvic floor and jump your feet out into a V shape. Inhale as you relax and bring your feet back together. Repeat!
Start in this position. Courtesy of pexels.com.
It is possible to tighten your pelvic floor a little too much. You'll notice soreness at that point too. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor. Or swing by Treseler's workshop this Wednesday. Your pelvic floor is the foundation of your core and we all know your core keeps you balanced. An imbalanced core leads to injury, bad form while working out, and overall body weakness. You shouldn't ignore your pelvic floor just because it also controls your urinary tract, bowels, and sexual function. And it's not just women that should pay attention to it. We think the pelvic floor is taboo because it's associated with all these things, but it's a vital part of your entire body's strength.
It's time to de-stigmatize your pelvic floor. Do you have any stories or exercises to share? Tell us about them in the comments!
The Run-Around is a weekly feature, focusing on fitness in and around Annapolis, MD.