Are you ready for the cold November air to fill your lungs as you hit the pavement in an annual Turkey Trot? This year, consider your pelvic floor before you lace up your shoes for the big race. Keep reading to learn three tips to keep your pelvic floor happy as you run/walk/jog/trot to the finish line.
TIP #1: 360 Diaphragmatic Breathing
Consider how you breathe and work on 360 diaphragmatic breathing during weekly training runs and as a great pre-race warm-up.
Did you know that how you breathe impacts your pelvic floor? This is true not only in daily life but also during all of the amazing athletic adventures you conquer… such as your favorite annual Turkey Trot.
What to Consider:
- Check in with your normal breathing pattern. Where do you feel the air going? Up toward the shoulders or down into the core?
- Do you find yourself only feeling movement in the belly? This can create unwanted pressure on the pelvic floor! Or can you feel a nice equal expansion of air into the rib cage in all four directions?
- What happens when you get fatigued during a run? Does your breathing pattern shift?
- Take 3-4 deep (360 degree) breaths prior to start out on your training run or race. Do this by placing your hands on your lower rib cage. Inhale in and feel the air expand your ribs in all four directions (front, back and sides). The air will also travel down to equally fill up the core. Exhale slowly to feel how the ribs and core draw back in.
- If you find yourself slipping into a shallow breathing pattern mid-run, simply reset with 1-2 breaths focusing on expanding the rib cage in all four directions and down into the core. Don’t let those shoulders creep up to your ears!
Why This Matters:
The pressure within your body as you inhale impacts your pelvic floor. In an optimal breath, as you inhale the air travels down to expand the rib cage in all four directions (front, back and sides) and fills up the core equally. In turn, this allows the pelvic floor to respond by subtly lengthening in a good way.
As you exhale, the pelvic floor returns to where it began. Supported and ready for dynamic movement.
TIP #2: Check in on Your Posture & Pelvic Alignment
If you’re a runner, you may be familiar with this advice on good running form.
- Your head should be up, your back straight, and shoulders level.
- Arms relaxed beside you at about 90-degree angle and moving forward & back, not side to side.
- Have a slightly forward posture keeping your head, shoulders, and pelvis aligned.
- Keep your shoulders under your ears and maintain a neutral pelvis.
Feel a little overwhelmed? Me too!! How in the world am I going to keep a neutral pelvis while running when it feels challenging in daily life? What does a neutral pelvis even feel like?
What to Consider:
- Find pelvic neutral in standing before heading out for your run, walk or jog. Begin with feet hip distance apart and knees soft.
- Check in on your rib cage. Are your ribs flared up or out? Gently tuck them down and align them over the pelvis.
- Does your pelvis feel like it is spilling forward? Or the opposite, does it feel tucked under?
- Can you go into a slight hinge forward (5 degrees) keeping the pelvis from spilling too far forward? Or is your tucked pelvis keeping you too upright and a little swayed back?
- Place your hands on each side of your pelvis and see what you feel. Can you draw the pelvis into a more neutral position?
- Make sure to check back in mid-race if you start to hit a wall or feel tired. What happened? Did your posture change? Can you make a small shift back to feeling more aligned?
Why This Matters:
Proper posture is important for everyone and especially for walkers, joggers and runners because running places stress on the body. Placing repetitive stress on the body while your pelvis is out of alignment can cause tightness, pain or pelvic floor dysfunction. All things a pelvic health physical therapist on the MOJO team would love to help you address!
TIP #3: Knowing When & Where to Seek Care!
Have you been dreaming of a Turkey Trot or other fitness goal but pelvic floor issues keep putting the brakes on that becoming a reality? Leaking while you run? SI Joint pain? Low back pain? Heaviness in the pelvic floor?
You are NOT alone!
Pelvic health issues may be keeping you from even thinking about athletic events. Seek help. Connect with a MOJO pelvic health physical therapist or MOJO virtual exercise specialist to begin your journey. We are now offering in person and virtual sessions!