Does Running Weaken Your Pelvic Floor?

Running is a form of aerobic exercise that many people like to do to stay in shape and relieve stress. As a form of physical exercise, running has many benefits like lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and boosting metabolism. However, running can have an impact on your pelvic floor. Pelvic floor is made up of muscles, ligaments, nerves and connective tissues, shaped like a hammock and located in the pelvis. The pelvic floor provides support to your pelvic organs and controls the bladder.

Running regularly is one of the risk factors that leads to pelvic floor damage. This is because during running the entire body is impacted and each stride can put pressure on the pelvic area. With time this excess pressure on the pelvic floor can make it weak. In this article, we will discuss how you can protect your pelvic floor when running. 

How does running affect the pelvic floor?

Regular running can be one of the risk factors that causes pelvic floor damage. Running can put pressure on the pelvic area and the muscles of the pelvic floor which protect and cushion it. This excess pressure can weaken the pelvic floor muscles. 

Weak pelvic floor muscles can lead to various problems such as:

Urinary incontinence

  • Urinary urgency
  • Pressure in the pelvic area
  • Hip or lower back pain
  • Discomfort during sex
  • Constipation
  • High risk of organ prolapse

How To Keep The Pelvic Floor Healthy When Running?

Reduce stress on your pelvic floor

Here are some measures you can take to reduce the stress on your pelvic floor.

  • Avoid running on hard surfaces, instead you can run on grassy terrain
  • Reduce your running speed, distance and length of your stride
  • Wear a well cushioned footwear
  • Running should not be the only exercise you do, but try other types of workouts too
  • Avoid running downhill as it puts more strain on your pelvis
  • Excess weight can put more pressure on your pelvic area, hence maintain a healthy body weight

Strength training

Strength training for running can help manage and prevent pelvic floor dysfunction. These exercises can strengthen your inner core which can help you maintain a proper running form. With strength training you can learn how to coordinate larger muscle groups to boost speed and endurance without straining the pelvic area.

To ensure that you are doing the right exercises, consult with a pelvic health physiotherapist who can develop a strength program for your running needs. 

Pelvic health physiotherapy

Pelvic health physiotherapy is a branch of physiotherapy that deals with the internal and external assessment and treatment of the pelvic floor muscles. This physiotherapy is beneficial if you have any pelvic floor dysfunction. It can help you manage the pressure to meet the demands of your running. Stronger pelvic floor muscles ensure that you do not endure any dysfunction symptoms. 

Learn more about pelvic floor physiotherapy here.

If you have any pelvic floor dysfunctions or you want to take measures to prevent it then physiotherapy can be beneficial. This can ensure that you build a strong pelvic floor that can keep up with your running. Overtime running can impact your pelvic floor and make it weaker, hence it is important to keep your pelvis strong and healthy. 

Physiotherapy is a great way to ensure the health of your pelvic floor. If you enjoy running and want to continue this activity without damaging your pelvic floor then ensure to take all the necessary measures to keep it healthy.