This is the fifth — and final (for now) — installment in our Healthy Bladder Series! Click here to see the first installment about problems associated with “hovering” over the toilet seat to urinate, click here for the second article about how to FULLY empty your bladder, click here for the third installment about eating for a healthy bladder, and click here for the fourth article that explains why you shouldn’t go “just in case.”
Today we’re going to talk about POSTURE and MOVEMENT… Two of my favorite topics. I’m going to keep the article fairly brief, as I’ve written about both of these subjects in-depth in the past. I even have a video that describes how to find and maintain perfect posture and bodily alignment. Take a look at my video, “Look 5 Pounds Lighter With This Trick:”
Why does good posture matter?
If you don’t stand tall using techniques for proper posture and alignment, just look at all of the pressure you’re putting on your internal organs (not to mention your bones, muscles, and joints):
Standing (or sitting) with poor posture puts excessive pressure on your abdominal and pelvic organs and strains the muscles and connective tissues that surround your joints. Here are some of the not-so-fun issues that can result from poor posture:
- Rectus diastasis from your abdominal contents being pushed forward/outward.
- Pelvic organ prolapse from your pelvic organs (bladder, rectum, uterus) being pushed downward… This is compounded by the fact that the structure of your bony pelvis prevents downward descent of the pelvic organs when your pelvis is in the correct position. When your pelvic is NOT in the correct position — when it is tipped back (posterior tilt, as seen at right in the photos above) — the pelvic organs descend right on down through the space that makes the birthing canal. If you have an incompetent pelvic floor (too tight or too long and weak to work well) to boot, you’re almost guaranteed to develop pelvic organ prolapse at some point in your life.
- Constant pressure on the bladder and bowels due to your abdominal and pelvic contents being “squished” because of poor posture… This can lead to feelings of urinary and fecal urgency and bladder control issues.
- Musculoskeletal problems: Hip and low back pain… Upper back pain… Neck pain… The works.
Good posture isn’t super complicated, but it takes practice and frequent check-ins to make sure you’ve got it right:
- Stand with your feet and knees pointing straight ahead
- Allow your pelvis to be in a neutral position so that your low back isn’t super-arched or super-flat
- Roll your shoulders up, and then down and back, so that your shoulders are down and away from your ears and your chest is open (click here for a fantastic 1.5 minute video from Esther Gokhale that describes the “shoulder roll”)
- Lift the crown of your head up toward the ceiling
When sitting, sit on your sit bones with your spine, shoulders, and head in alignment as noted above. Please do not slouch and sit on your sacrum! This leads to the “squishing” of internal organs as described earlier.
Why does movement matter?
I’ve said it before: Movement is the key to health. Having a regular exercise program is important, but it’s just as important to use your body and vary your movements THROUGHOUT the day, not just when you’re at the gym. Try to incorporate MORE walking into your life. Park in the farthest parking spot. Walk to your neighborhood grocery store rather than drive. Go for a walk with a friend rather than chatting at a coffee shop.
As biomechanist Katy Bowman says, “pelvic floor health depends on natural movement (i.e. walking, squatting, kneeling, lifting, changing positions) done throughout the day.” She calls this “movement nutrition,” stating that how we move — and the quantity and quality of our movement — is just as important as the foods we put into our body when it comes to health and wellness. In fact, the very act of movement helps us assimilate the nutrients we receive via food… Movement stimulates blood flow to circulate and help us utilize the nutrients we consume, and the load that we put on our bones and joints helps us build and maintain bone density (again, allowing us to properly utilize the nutrients we ingest).
So… It all comes down — once again — to one of the basic tenets of the FemFusion Fitness Philosophy: Eat clean, and MOVE EVERY DAY.