Let me paint you a scenario and tell me if you can relate.
You spend time exercising every week at home or in the gym, working really hard to get rid of the lower belly pooch that never really gets any smaller. You take a Body Pump, Turbo Kick, or another cardio cross training class regularly or even lace up those sneakers to go out for a run or walk, but have noticed that you get pretty damp or wet while doing your exercises. You have taken to wearing a pad while exercising just to hide the urine leaking from everyone else.
You are a mom of 3 adorable and growing kids, so when you ask your doctor about the leaking, the doctor simply tells you that your pelvic floor must be weak and to DO YOUR KEGELS. You may even be given a hand out on how to perform a kegel exercise and told you won’t need to come back for anymore follow up unless the leaking doesn’t get any better.
How many of you relate to any part or all of the story above? For some reason, pelvic floor rehabilitation and even the pelvic floor itself has become synonymous with kegel contractions. The trouble with that is that pelvic floor rehabilitation really needs to be focused on improving the coordinated function of the pelvic floor within the system it is a part of, the core or stability system, rather than isolating the pelvic floor function independent of any other system. The pelvic floor is designed to work in synergy with the abdominal muscles, gluteal and hip muscles, lower back muscles, and the respiratory diaphragm. Simply asking you to do a kegel exercise, especially without confirming via examination that your brain can even make the connection with the right muscles, is just not good exercise prescription.
I am so excited to be bringing you, over the next few posts, some ideas that I think truly help to integrate and coordinate the function of the system as a whole. In the meantime, check out my post here regarding the importance of your breath for a sneak peak into one way that pelvic floor (or core rehabilitation) is more than just kegels and crunches.