Why your pelvic floor is key to your sports performance
We all like to live an active lifestyle. For some of us being ‘active’ simply means that we’re able to carry out day to day activities, getting ourselves up and about, jumping in and out of the car for the school pick up run etc. For others it may mean having the freedom to travel, get up for a dance at family wedding, or go on a long walk with family. But if you’re someone whose active lifestyle involves ‘fitness’ - short or long distance running, competitive sport, weight lifting, cycling etc. we may have a little ‘life hack’ for you that could change the game for you completely.
Core strength is vital for great sport or exercise performance. It forms the foundation for all movement, balance, stability and flexibility. And while we tend to factor core strengthening activities in to our exercise regimes, we often forget to think about the bodies biggest unsung hero – the pelvic floor. Almost every exercise or physical activity you do affects or utilises your pelvic floor, so it’s important to fully understand it, to enable you to better your sport & exercise performance1.
Jane Wake, Women’s Health & Pelvic Floor Specialist explains; “When we think of the core, we often think of the superficial core, i.e. the abdominals or ‘washboard stomach’ muscles. However genuine core strength comes from working the muscles that lie underneath. I like to refer to this all-important inner core unit as the ‘3D core”.
This 3D core that Jane refers to, is made up of:
- The deep abdominal muscles at the sides (Transversus Abdominals)
- The stabilising spinal muscles which run up our back (Multifidus)
- The Diaphragm or ‘breathing muscle’
- The Pelvic Floor muscles
Throughout our lives, our pelvic floor, which is a basin shaped deeply internal muscle holding all of the pelvic organs in place (uterus, bowel, vagina, bladder), and provides us with control over when and how often we wee, can become weakened, losing its tone & strength. This is most commonly a result of pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, and prostate surgeries in men, leaving 1 in 3 women and 1 in 10 men unable to control urinary leaks.
“Many active and athletic women (including Olympic athletes), also suffer from urinary incontinence due to the additional pressure placed on the pelvic floor by high impact sports like running and gymnastics. These activities can result in a weakening of the connective tissue that supports the bladder”, says Jane. Strengthening your entire core (that 3D core) can reduce the risk of injuries while exercising or competing. A weak pelvic floor can hinder your ability to anticipate and prepare for accidents, resulting in significant pain & injury.
The great news is that whether you’re an athlete or sports & fitness enthusiast experiencing urinary leaks as a result of a lifetime of exercise, or even someone who simply enjoys getting out for a nice walk, you can restore pelvic floor strength and get that control back you’re looking for. Banishing leaks will no doubt enable you to focus on your sports performance and even improve it through a stronger 3D core.
INNOVO® is clinically proven to restore pelvic floor strength by non-invasively stimulating the entire network of pelvic floor muscles via pain-free muscle stimulation. This safe and comfortable at-home treatment improves bladder control in as little as 4 weeks2. Don’t waste time on Kegel exercises – you’ll need to do so many of these to see any impact, and most people are unable to perform them correctly anyway.
INNOVO®’s medical grade technology automates these pelvic floor exercises for you, meaning the time you spend doing them is actually doing you good! Use for just 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week for up to 12 weeks for long lasting results.
Jane Wake discusses pelvic floor strengthening for sporty women: