Running – teach your muscles how to react properly

Run for your health

When we want to get back into shape, running is often the first physical activity we think of, however, you have to remember that any physical activity requires preparation.

Many women who train professionally have problems with urinary incontinence. Not only can this be prevented, it can also be alleviated with active pelvic floor muscle exercises.

A properly prepared pelvic floor is necessary to maintain correct posture, which allows you to play sports safely. Trained muscles will also reduce pain in the lumbar region of the spine. This is because pelvic floor muscles are not an
autonomous group of muscles in your body, they are all connected to each other. If one part is more tense or not strong enough, it may cause referred pain to other parts of the body.

Each of us needs to train our pelvic floor, and learn to control our muscles, increasing endurance and strength. These muscles protect you from passing urine while laughing, sneezing, sports and any other activity putting stress on the bladder.

Stress urinary incontinence, which is fortunately talked about more and more, is the leakage of urine during a sudden increase in abdominal pressure. This can happen in situations such as sneezing, coughing, lifting something heavy or
running.

It is worth noting that exercises, without proper preparation, can aggravate the problem of urinary incontinence. Effective breathing is also a very important aspect as lack of oxygen can affect the pelvic floor.

  1. Correct posture
    Posture is the starting point for proper exercises and it’s similar to running. You shouldn’t push your bottom back too much to deepen your lumbar lordosis, and you shouldn’t slouch too much. The spine should be in a neutral position so that our natural spine curves are not too deep. If you train in the wrong posture, these habits will persist. If you have a tendency to run in incorrect positions, try to change it. If you do not know if you are running correctly, maybe ask someone to record you during the activity or consult a physiotherapist. A specialist will explain to you how to position your body, knees and upper limbs correctly during a run. Most importantly, don’t worry because every habit can be changed.
  2. Don’t be too tense all of the time
    Do not contract your pelvic floor muscles while running. Your goal is not to keep these muscles tight as long as possible, but to teach them to react automatically when necessary. You will achieve this by exercising regularly.
    Training is not about achieving the longest and strongest possible contraction, but about letting your body learn how and when to activate it properly.
  3. Relax
    You are already aware that the pelvic floor muscles work like any other, so remember that they also get tired meaning the pelvic floor also needs relaxation. After training, relax and give your body a moment to return to normal activity. Breathe calmly, concentrate on relaxing the pelvic floor muscles and any others that have worked hard during your workout.

What exercises should I do?

  1. Strengthen the transverse muscles
    Correctly taut abdominal transverse muscle stabilizes the lower back and helps maintain normal abdominal muscle tone. These muscles working correctly is essential for physical activity – especially for running.
    Lie on your back, bend your knees, put your hands loosely on the sides of your torso. Slowly with the exhalation, feel your stomach collapse and your body slightly detach from your hands. This is how the transverse muscle works. It is possible that oblique muscles will help them in this work, but they are equally as important for maintaining the correct tension of your body.
  2. Learn to properly activate your pelvic floor muscles.
    When in a lying position, it will be easier to start training your pelvic floor muscles, but remember not to contract your buttocks, thighs, and abdomen. The movement you should make is a tighten with slight lifting and your body should be able to perform an isolated pelvic floor contraction. You should be able to strain the urethra, vagina and anus at the same time, however, if you are not sure how to activate the right muscles, consult a physiotherapist who will check whether you are doing this correctly.
  1. Breathe
    If you understand the exercises and you know how to do them, go to the next level and try a standing position. Gravity will make it harder, but if you already know how to do them, this position will not hurt your muscles. Most importantly
    – breathe
    . Breathe in during pelvic floor muscle contraction and then breathe out
    during muscle relaxation.”

Find out more here!

Urszula Herman, Women’s Pelvic Health Specialist