Ladies…. we’ve all been there, right? Maybe it’s coughing, sneezing, box jumps, running, or going for that max attempt on a lift when all of a sudden you’re a bit wet. So you try squeezing or holding your breath, or maybe you try not to drink as much and wear a panty liner on those days. Girl, you’re not alone and I want you to know that just because something is COMMON does not make it NORMAL. Here are 5 things you can start doing today to help alleviate incontinence and keep you dry.
1) Stop sucking it in.
I know, I know. This is not what you wanted to hear. If you’re anything like me you have been sucking in that stomach to make it feel and look flatter since you were like 12. Sad, but true. But sucking it in creates intra-abdominal pressure in your pelvic floor that can contribute to a leaking problem.
2) Stop holding your breath.
This runs along the same lines as number 1. When you hold your breath (this especially goes for during your workouts/lifting), you’re trapping the air into your core. By doing so you’re also creating and trapping in all of that intra-abdominal pressure. It can get to a point where that pressure needs to be released… and that release can come in the form of urinary incontinence. So breathe through your movements whether you are picking up your groceries or a barbell, and exhale on the “hard” part.
3) Check your body alignment.
It’s easy, especially in the middle of an intense workout, to lose proper body alignment. And for some of us, we don’t even know what proper alignment looks or feels like. The main focus here should be to keep the ribs over the hips, ribs level, and hips untucked. The photos below are some examples of both poor alignment, and proper alignment we should all be aiming for, all the time.. not just at the gym. *Note that there are of course varying degrees of “correct” as we are all individuals with different needs.*
4) Establish proper breathing technique.
Proper breathing technique is essential to our cause here of staying dry. Piston breathing is a way of breathing that takes all components of breath (diaphragm, abdominals, and pelvic floor) and has them working together (up and down like a piston) to maintain proper breath and pelvic health. This strategy is used and taught by Julie Wiebe, and is critical in helping rehabilitate and prevent pelvic floor dysfunction, including urinary incontinence. You can find her course here at the bottom of the page.
5) See a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist.
I saved the best for last. Yes, there is such a thing! Seeing a PFPT is invaluable to determine any pelvic floor issues you may have and create a therapy plan tailored to your needs. You can search here to find one in your area. Working with both a PF PT and knowledgable coach CAN help you alleviate this issue!
Just because something is COMMON doesn’t make it NORMAL!
If you are in Rhode Island, I can recommend an awesome PT! Please contact me directly for more information.
For more information about me and how I can help you through this chapter and start doing double unders with confidence, please visit Grace Fitness and Nutrition for more information. As always, please feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions. You can reach me on Facebook, Instagram, or email me at email@example.com.
Stay strong, stay beautiful!