Needless to say, there is a lot of pelvic floor talk in my house ( more than my 10 year old boy and 15 year old daughter feel they need to know! ) However I think it is important they understand what training the core should really involve. I have chatted with my daughter, about the pelvic floor and how it relates to our core while touching on various signs and symptoms she should be…. well….mindful of.
I have taught Hypopressives – Low Pressure Fitness as a new form of core training to her swim team and some of her friends while touching on the importance of pelvic health. Writing a blog for teenagers was next on my list this summer. Then it dawned on me… wait a minute! I should get my daughter to write this blog!! and so…..
Here it is……
MY TEENAGE DAUGHTERS PERSPECTIVE ……..
As a teenage girl I have a lot to think about: school, sports, extracurricular activities and a social life, all of which take up a lot of my time. Another large part of my life as a teenager is body image — having the “perfect figure,” which seems to be defined as having a slim, toned waist. Unfortunately my generation only knows one way to reach this goal, and the way we are achieving this “image” is actually harming our bodies over time.
If you were to ask any of my friends what exercise they should do to get their core(otherwise known to us as our “abs”) the way they want, it would include a lot of crunches, sit ups and planks. Yet all of these exercises only work out one section of the abdomen, the exterior abs, used for movement. I’ve learned that over time, too many of these types of exercises can be detrimental to our well being.
Over the past few years I have learned from my Mom (Master of Low Pressure Fitness-Hypopressives Canada) all about the different aspects of a functioning core, such as the pelvic floor muscles, which help support our internal organs and keep them in place, while working together with the deepest transverse abdominals to create the stability of the pelvis. Our diaphragm helps with breathing and posture but can’t do the job without the many muscles in the back. The thing is, all of those muscles need to work together to make a well-functioning core.
A core workout is more than just an ab workout, and if we don’t pay attention to the function of the core we could be setting ourselves up for a life of unwanted symptoms. Some of these symptoms are almost inconceivable to a teenager, including incontinence, the loss of bladder control, i.e., uncontrollably leaking pee or developing a prolapse (when your internal organs fall out of you!) . . . Yikes!! Many athletes suffer from incontinence, especially female participants in sports such as trampoline, running and strength training. All of these activities tend to put a lot of pressure on your pelvic floor and, over time, this can cause harm to the pelvic floor. Leaking is so common in a wide variety of sports that athletes start to believe it is normal. No matter what level of competition you are in or how small the amount of urine you loose, leaking while exercising OR during everyday activities, (sneezing, coughing, laughing) is most certainly not normal.
As a student and athlete I started to ask myself, why had I never heard of this before my Mom started teaching me about it? In school I have had health class since I was 10, but never once did anyone mention anything about incontinence. It’s not like this problem is affecting a small percentage of the population. 3.5 million Canadians, approximately 10%, are experiencing urinary incontinence right now and that statistic comes only from those who have asked for help. Not only do they fail to teach us about the pelvic floor and incontinence, they encourage us to participate in daily activities that do not have the best interest of our health in mind, such as abdominal crunches in gym class. Our coaches and teachers need to learn that there are other ways to train our core.
Recently my friends and I have been learning about Hypopressives – Low Pressure Fitness and how it is a full body workout that can help us prevent incontinence and train our core the way it is meant to work. It can help us breathe better so we can perform better in our sports and it can lead us along a path towards a toned body, with good posture and slim non-bulky abs.
I hope my generation start to realize that achieving the “perfect body” on the outside isn’t worth hurting our body on the inside.
-Chloe Zinn- 15 year old high school student who loves her social life as much as she does her sports, singing & playing the guitar.