I had a blog post written in my head about a COMPLETELY different subject, but I will have to save it for another day. Because I just read something that completely ROCKED MY WORLD. When I first started FitMePink nearly three years ago, I gave a little shpeel about incontinence. At the time, I had a 6-month old baby, went on a walk with my husband, started sneezing every few minutes during our walk (due to allergies), and nearly pee'd my pants with every sneeze. I urged all of you to DO YOUR KEGELS!
I have a good friend (who will remain nameless) who is also currently training for a marathon. She ran 12 miles on Saturday, and for the first time in a long time (probably since having 3 kids), ended the run with dry pants. For her (and for lots of women), even running ONE mile (or sneezing, laughing, coughing or jumping) causes major leakage. I'm a big advocate for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. And I just read something that shook the foundation of pelvic floor strength I've always stood on...namely kegels.
You all HAVE to actually read this post (and it's follow-up). I'll post the links in a second, but first I'll very briefly sum up what I read:
We all do kegels in an attempt to strengthen the pelvic floor, but REALLY what we are doing is just pulling the sacrum inward, which promotes even more weakness! The muscles that actually balance out this pull on the sacrum are the glutes! Having a lack of gluteal strength (AKA no butt) makes us much more susceptible to pelvic floor disorder (PFD) or incontinence. DEEP, REGULAR SQUATS (like the kind I had to do in public restrooms in Japan--there were no toilets, just flushing holes in the ground--betcha women over there don't have PFD!) create the posterior pull on the sacrum. You want your pelvic floor to be less like a hammock, and more like a trampoline!
ALSO mentioned--another reason not to do CRUNCHES! With crunches, you are actually bearing down on the pelvic floor, making it's health worse! It's better to do transverse abdominal stabilizing exercises, like the plank, (or like the seated tupler).
If you're at all intrigued, (which you all should be!), read this post over at Mama Sweat. And then read her follow-up which helps clarify why we were told to do kegels in the first place (and to not completely count them out!) And then check this post out about how to properly squat to strengthen your lower back, pelvic floor, and even improve your digestive health. (And also to prepare your body for child birth by mimicking what women all over the world have done for centuries!)
And then come back here and give me your thoughts! Are you as shocked as I was? Did it make sense to you? Discuss.