“I don’t want to go to PT because they’re going to make me stop running.” “My friend’s PT told her she should never run again, so I don’t want to go.” We hear statements like these all the time. Sadly, a lot of people run for YEARS with pain, injury, weakness, and poor form because they don’t want to be told to stop. We’re here to tell you that at MOJO, we don’t want you to stop either.
For so many postpartum people in particular, running is the quickest, most efficient method of exercise because you can lace up your shoes and literally run out of your door for a quick jog while someone else cares for the baby for a few minutes. No commute to the gym– just shoes, run, go. With proper strength and body mechanics, running can be a great activity to return to after having a baby, so we are all for it! But, we think you deserve more than to jump into an activity before your body is ready because that can lead to injuries, pelvic floor issues, etc. down the road.
PSA: if you want to run, we want you to run!
So, why shouldn’t you just jump back into running immediately?
Because your body went through A LOT of changes during pregnancy, and it takes A LOT of work to retrain your muscles postpartum. Also, because running is a very dynamic activity, which means it requires a great deal of stability, strength, and endurance. Thus, it is so important to start at the base level of training so that your body has the foundation and strength to do dynamic activities again, such as running!
More details please–
The deepest abdominals and pelvic muscles are the first to stretch + expand when pregnant and often the last to coordinate and fire again with the endurance, coordination, and strength needed when returning to running (or coughing or lifting, etc). This coordination requires lots of training and practice before your body is able to perform well during running.
Going for a quick run sounds like it would be easy and effortless postpartum. However, if you are recovering from having a baby or from any injury, running is actually a very complicated task for your body to perform. Most likely, if you go on a run postpartum without any proper strengthening beforehand, your body will not feel the same as it did prior to pregnancy. You may find that it feels harder, heavier, or more unstable. So, our recommendation is to retrain your muscles prior to running so that you can run in the safest and best way possible. When you come into PT, our goal is to keep you running or to get you back to it.
When you come into PT, our goal is to keep you running or to get you back to it.
Here are 5 things we think everyone should consider prior to running postpartum:
1. The latest recommendation regarding running postpartum is to wait at least 16 weeks before running and to begin prep-care prior to running.
2. Breathing pattern is very important for pelvic floor and core stability, which are needed during running.
-Can you breathe into your ribs, lower abdomen, and pelvic floor?
3. Unilateral stability (balance on one leg) is critical for running.
-Can you do 20 calf raises on one leg without support and without dropping your hips?
4. Load transfer is a vital component of returning to running.
-Can you hop in place for 1 minute?
5. If you have any symptoms including pelvic pain, leakage, heaviness, or if your body just does not feel right, then you would benefit from seeing a pelvic PT.
Want to return to running at your highest potential? Let’s discuss how we can get you back to running safely, effectively and injury-free. We want to get you back to doing what you enjoy!
Kristen Braasch, PT, DPT