Before reading, you should check out this video making the rounds in the health and pelvic floor communities. (Watch video here -- click.)
Many emailed me for my thoughts, so here they are.
It does not surprise me that women are peeing their pants during extreme workouts. Many women currently pee their pants while running, dancing, taking yoga, doing Pilates, and sneezing. Women peeing their pants is not new. The fact that an exercise program advertises urinary leakage as “what it takes” was new, but the pee, that’s old news.
What I see in this video is the same thing I see all. the. time. Extremely fit people with the same musculoskeletal issues as people who take no exercise at all. Lean, ripped, stronger-than-human folks who struggle with their health, getting the same hip replacements, ACL repairs, shoulder surgery, hernias and pelvic slings as the common (couch) folk.
I've written about CrossFit before, but what I would hate for people to miss is the larger message here: that exercise -- no matter the type -- does not replace movement and result in health. Which isn’t to say that you won’t look hot with your organs sitting a centimeter or two lower than they should be, but that your exercise program isn’t making you healthier, only more fit.
The whole “sitting is the new smoking” thing really caught on which made everyone get up. And I’m glad because, well, sitting is the new smoking. But let’s not be short sighted here. In ten years from now, standing work stations will be the new smoking. Everyone will be commenting on my blog KatyStillSays.com writing, "W.T.F. Katy Bowman? I’m standing, be-yatch, and now my varicose veins are acting up and my bones are cracking under my weight." And I’ll have to point out that I said standing for eight hours a day is no more natural than sitting eight hours a day, it’s just different. We can all buy a little health with different. But let’s just say what no one wants to hear: Your Job is the old, the present, and the future smoking. Working is also the reason most of us exercise instead of move.
If you can learn two things from me they are:
1) Alignment is not posture.
2) Exercise does not replace movement.
We’re squeezing the exercise lemon trying to get a day’s worth of juice and it cannot physically be done. You will never load your body (and the cells that reside there) in a similar way as they would be loaded throughout a day of movement. There is no physical way possible. When the body is without load, the cells within it die. And to make things even more confusing, a lot of the cells die when we do exercise because we apply too-large loads to an atrophied body without giving the body time to adapt.
This might come as a shock but even the CrossFit body has hunks of atrophied bits when compared to that same body doing CrossFit and all-day natural movements at frequencies that mimicked our ancestors. This atrophy is brought about by the culturally-induced movement drought we all live in and this drought goes deep and beyond the muscles you are thinking about right now. This atrophy is occurring in the extra cellular matrix of every part -- even the parts we don't associate with moving our body around.
If you consider everything the pelvis would be doing throughout a lifetime in nature and compare it to what the pelvis does does in a modern context it is no surprise to find the pelvic organ system collapsing. It's collapsing under it's own weight. CrossFit just highlights it.
Do not be distracted by the intense exercise in the video. It is not the high loads of CrossFit making you pee your pants. It’s your job. It's your mindset. It's your life.
P.S. It is also the high loads of CrossFit making you pee your pants. But what I mean by that is a yoga pose will create a little downward pressure and a little pee. A bout of jump roping will create higher downward pressure and more pee. A double decker jump rope sundae with kettleballs on top will create an even greater load and even more pee. But the loads aren't really to blame and the pee isn’t the problem.
P.P.S. The pee is kind of a problem but it’s not the problem. The problem is the atrophy that resides in everyone who partakes in exercise dessert without consuming their movement vitamins. And that's all of us. Junkfood Movement. Read about it.
(I'm not going to address some of the other parts of the video. Do I really need to?)