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Do You Leak When You Workout?

Most people believe Kegels and dark yoga pants are the solution but relaxation of these muscles is key!

Our Pelvic Floor is the force absorber for our core and joints, as we exert ourselves its job is to absorb that force and distribute it safely throughout our bodies.

If we have any type of dysfunction in our pelvic floor it isn’t able to provide the other functions it’s responsible for. One of those functions is controlling our urine and fecal output.

What happens when we stay in a contracted state is that these muscles start to atrophy, they become dehydrated and can’t function properly. The force we exert is passed off to our joints and cutting off a stream of urine becomes challenging.

So let’s review how to prevent leaks and protect your joints!

Diaphragmatic Breathing aka “the belly breath

To train your pelvic floor in an opening motion, it’s important to work your diaphragm in a descending motion. Begin by placing a hand on your belly and another on your chest. Take a deep breath, paying attention to where the air enters your body. Focus on inhaling into your belly, while minimizing the amount of air entering your chest. Notice the recoil of your diaphragm and pelvic floor as you inhale and exhale. This exercise will help you to strengthen and train your pelvic floor muscles to be more flexible.

1. Shake It Out

Once you have finished urinating you need to lean forward and side to side. This will compress the bladder to ensure that all of the urine has left the body. If urine remains in the bladder and we begin high intensity workouts that can cause leaks.

2. Stop Doing Kegels

I know this sounds counterintuitive, we feel like we have to contract our pelvic floor muscles to hold the pee in. But what is actually happening, especially for athletic women, is that our bodies already have a hypertonic, or tight pelvic floor. When we keep contracting these muscles it actually weakens them so they cannot perform their normal function. Our pelvic floor is our natural force absorber we should never have to consciously contract it. Naturally when we jump, take a step, etc it will contract on its own.

3. Relax Your Pelvic Floor

As I mentioned most women have extremely tight pelvic floors. It is essential that these muscles can contract (Kegel), relax (resting state) and bulge (necessary for bowel movements and birth).

If we only contract these muscles we lose the coordination to prevent leaks and support our joints. Restore this coordination with a simple technique: Diaphragmatic breathing. When we do this type of breathing our diaphragm descends and the pelvic floor releases to maintain optimal core pressure. Incorporating this into your daily routine, especially before a workout will help your body return to normal allowing the natural recoil of the pelvic floor to happen as you exert yourself during a workout.

AUTHOR

Allison Feldt

Body Motion Physical Therapy

"We Help Women Through Fertility, Pregnancy, Birth, Postpartum and Beyond So They Can Live Active, Confident, Healthy Lives Without The Need For Medication Or Surgery"
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