If you have ever found yourself mid-run when you experience a little leak, or you have to think before you laugh, sneeze, cough or jump for fear of a small trickle occurring, then there is a good chance that your pelvic floor muscles are on the weak side. The pelvic muscles are those which are responsible for supporting the womb, bladder and bowel – which means that yes, men can suffer from a weak pelvic floor as well, but it is more common in women, due mainly to childbirth.
Running places internal pressure on the pelvic floor, and this means that in order to do high-impact activities, it needs to work much harder. This is not too difficult for the body to manage when the pelvic floor is strong enough, but when the muscles are weak, it can struggle. The pelvic muscles are part of your supportive core together with the back muscles, diaphragm and deep abdominals. They all work in harmony to help support the spine and promote good posture.
The good news is that there are ways in which you can help to strengthen your pelvic floor. You don’t have to live in fear of sneezing forever! The simplest way to help your pelvic floor is by doing some simple pelvic floor exercises. These are the sort of exercises that are often recommended to women during or post-pregnancy to help them improve their pelvic floor muscles and involve squeezing the pelvic floor muscles. NHS online has some good information on how to do this.
Pilates is also a great way of improving the strength of your pelvic floor and has the added benefit of helping you improve the strength of other muscle groups at the same time. This is an exercise that can be done in a group through an organised session, or if you struggle to find time to commit to a regular group through an online channel like my online studio membership where you can access a range of Pilates exercises to suit your ability and needs.
Pilates links the breath and movement together, learning to do your pelvic floor exercises with breathwork is a more efficient way of training your pelvic floor than just random squeezes! If you would like my free guide on pelvic floor training click here.
The key to any type of pelvic floor exercise is to do them on a regular basis if you want to see the results that you are looking for. These don’t need to be long sessions. Focusing on doing the exercises correctly will have more benefit than if you do them for longer but incorrectly. Why not get in touch or book a class with me to find out exactly how to strengthen not just your pelvic floor, but improve your running too?Favorite