May 12th, 2014

The Benefits of Pilates for Runners

Hope you all had a marvelous weekend, and made a big deal over the mothers in your life!

I am feeling refreshed from a few days at the beach with some of my best girlfriends, and came home to sweet notes, ice cream, and a spa day to use this week.  It’s always nice to have the chance to miss my daughter and remember how lucky I am to spend time with her every day.

Beach

The beach was perfect- gorgeous weather and time with two of my best girlfriends.  We’ve known each other since elementary school (crazy!) and they were in my wedding nearly ten years ago.  Friends like that are extra special and after doing so much of the “get to know you” thing this year in a new town, it was incredibly refreshing to be with people who already know me (probably too well!)

Beach weekend

I also got in a number of walks or walk/runs and we did a short strength session together.

I was reminded lately of the importance of Pilates for pregnancy, and for runners in general.  The exercises are gentle enough for a beginner, but challenging enough for advanced athletes as well.

Pilates includes all of the following benefits:

  • a focus on core strength
  • balance
  • flexibility
  • posture
  • coordination

Each of those are crucial for runners.  We often neglect to work on balance, flexibility and posture.  Any weaknesses in those areas will eventually show up in overuse injuries.

In addition, pregnant runners especially benefit from Pilates because of the focus on the pelvic floor.  Pregnancy stretches out these muscles which can lead to inconveniences (such as less bladder control, waking up to pee multiple times a night) or weak muscle control.  After menopause, a weak pelvic floor can lead to prolapse (where the pelvic organs move down).

A stronger pelvic floor improves labor and delivery (stronger muscles for pushing the baby out) and prevents other issues down the road.

Kegels are the standard pelvic floor exercise, but many Pilates exercises also help to strengthen them, including leg lifts, bridges and core work.

This is a fantastic article about the importance of squats for pelvic floor strengthening (and a smoother, stronger labor and delivery).  Plus, it emphasizes the fact that pregnancy does not cause pelvic floor disorders- all women should be aware of these muscles.

If you’re pregnant, are you working on your pelvic floor?

If you’re not pregnant, do you include Pilates or other core and pelvic stability exercises?

 

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