Ahhh the world wide web! The place to go to watch adorable dog videos, low-key stalk your ex, self-diagnose that weird freckle on your elbow, and, in general, find all the answers to every question you could ever think of. But as the saying goes, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” With that said, the internet has become an incredible resource for helpful information and has helped usher in an age in which information that was previously only accessible by the elite, is now available to the masses, so it should come as no surprise that the wellness industry at large has grown exponentially.
We crave and seek information on how to live longer, better, healthier lives, but this can be a double-edged sword because with so much information available it becomes difficult to know what is reliable, and proven. Certain fad diets and workouts become runaway hits at the speed of light before they’ve had a chance to be adequately vetted and tested, which brings me to one of the main culprits – high-intensity workouts like Body Pump, Insanity, and, of course, CrossFit.
CrossFit started gaining popularity in the early 2000s and has gained a near cult following since, and with so many traditional (read: boring) workouts out there, it’s easy to see its appeal. It sounds like a rope tossing, deadlifting, tire flipping good time! But the question isn’t whether or not high-intensity workouts have mass appeal or not. The question is, are they actually good for you? And by “you” I’m talking mainly about women.
Don’t get me wrong… I was a regular at the local box at one time. For a short time.
There are many schools of thought about whether or not high-intensity workouts are suitable for the female body, and while there are arguments and evidence to support both sides of the debate, one thing that has made itself very clear is that these workouts are not suitable for women who suffer from Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and/or Diastasis Recti.
What are Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and Diastasis Recti? I’m glad you asked…
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction is the body’s inability to control the grouping of muscles and ligaments that make up the pelvic floor, which plays a significant role in supporting the uterus, bladder, rectum. So as you can imagine, when the pelvic floor can’t do its job, it can have major implications for bodily functions and even sexual intercourse. Think trouble controlling urination and bowel movements, and sometimes even uncomfortable or painful sex.
As for Diastasis Recti, this is a condition of the abdominal muscles that occurs primarily with pregnant women, in which there’s a separation between the muscles down the middle of the abdomen. In mild cases, this can lead to that post-pregnancy “bulge” that doesn’t go away even after you’ve lost all that extra baby weight, but in severe cases, it can lead to abdominal pain and issues with the pelvic floor, and we just learned what that could lead to.
Now you may be thinking, “If these issues are mostly muscle-related, wouldn’t it stand to reason that staying fit and strong would help to resolve them?” and the short answer is, “Yes. You’re so smart!” but the long answer is why we’re here…
While exercising and staying in good shape can help to prevent these issues and sometimes even treat them (think kegel exercises) high-intensity workouts are simply too…well…intense! The amount of strain these types of workouts put on the body, in general, has been shown to negatively affect everything from joints to ligaments and muscles in some individuals, and for those with pre-existing conditions like Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and/or Diastasis Recti, they can serve to exacerbate the problem.
So what should we do instead? Well, if you suffer from either of the issues mentioned above, it’s a good idea to work with your doctor to figure out a safe and healthy way to treat them. But as a general baseline rule, you can’t go wrong with lower impact exercise and workouts like walking, biking, swimming, yoga, and rowing. Each of these exercises can be as gentle or intense as you push them to be and run a lower risk of becoming too high impact.
If you’re unsure about specific workouts or if you experience any pain or extreme discomfort while exercising, it’s always best to speak with your doctor (or set up a complimentary phone consult with me!). If an issue is discovered, she or he can help refer you to a physical therapist who can recommend the best treatment and course of action.
Did you find this article helpful? If so, let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to chat with you about my CoreRestore® program where we target specific muscles to repair your pelvic floor and/or diastasis recti. Please also Like and Share with someone who you think could benefit from this information. For more articles like these, you can visit my blog here. Thanks for stopping by. Come again soon!