Since the beautiful summer weather is now upon us, I wanted to post a brief article about running and the pelvic floor. I will begin by refreshing your knowledge about the pelvic floor and pelvic floor physiotherapy. I will then chat about the most important things to keep in mind about the pelvic floor and its role in running… So read on and enjoy!
What is the Pelvic Floor and Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that line the base of the abdomen and pelvis. They perform many different functions including, but not limited to, supporting the body, stabilizing the core, and facilitating the function of internal organs.
Pelvic floor physiotherapy often involves internal and external hands-on techniques to evaluate and treat pelvic floor muscles and their synergy with other muscles of the deep core. If you would like to learn more, please see my article The Pelvic Floor and The Role of Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy.
When engaging in high-impact activities like running, most of us do not think about the pelvic floor, but instead focus on our knees, gait, cadence, etc. The truth is, however, the pelvic floor plays a very important role while running and can make a big difference in our ability to withstand running-related impact.
5 Things You Should Know About Running and the Pelvic Floor
1. Leaking is NOT normal and should NOT be tolerated
Many runners report that they experience urinary leakage while running but don’t care enough to do something about it. Incontinence indicates that the pelvic floor is not functioning properly, which can mean significant long-term issues down the road.
2. If done improperly, running can worsen a pelvic organ prolapse (POP)
Although high impact activity can increase the pressures placed on the pelvic floor, we should not be experiencing a prolapse because of it. It would be most beneficial to properly train the pelvic floor to withstand impact and support our organs so they stay put!
3. Pelvic floor training strengthens the deep core
The pelvic floor is the foundation of the deep core. It is impossible to have a strong core if the pelvic floor muscles are weak and inefficient. They are designed to work in synergy with the other three muscle groups of the deep core to provide a solid base upon which the rest of the body can function – especially during running!
4. Pelvic floor training can help prevent long-term, running-related injuries
If the pelvic floor is weak and inefficient, it means that many other muscles of the body (especially those around the low back, hips, and legs) have to compensate. Since these compensatory strategies are not beneficial long-term, the risk of injury to the lower body increases significantly.
5. Pelvic floor training can help to control the lower body during a run
Pelvic floor training can help to strengthen our ability to control hip and knee alignment during a run. This means that the pelvic floor is paramount in facilitating the natural rotation of our hips and knees; and normalizing the transfer of forces in the low back and sacral areas during a run. This will ultimately help to prevent excessive fatigue from running, as well as, running-related low back pain.
So there you have it… a few new things to think about when you are out for your morning jog. If you would like to learn more about your pelvic floor and how to optimize these muscles for running, please feel free to contact me anytime… I would love to hear from you!
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