If you’re going to get rid of that stomach “pooch,” and jogging is your preferred exercise, it is about time to figure out, ‘is running bad for diastasis recti?’

Motherhood is a fantastic journey. You carry a baby for nine months in time, and you feel the unconditional love to your child that only a mother can explain and understand.

As you go through the beautiful journey, you will experience body and hormonal changes within yourself. It could be challenging because, as others say, “Babies ruin bodies.”

While others want to keep their fighting marks and embrace their changed bodies, you might be one of the many who want to get back in shape – time to get back in the sexy body figure.

What Is Diastasis Recti, And How To Spot If You Have One?

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According to Webmd.com, the phenomenon where your left and right belly muscles have widened is called diastasis recti. There is a gap between your muscles that causes your belly to stick out. About two-thirds of pregnant women tend to develop diastasis recti. It is prevalent during and following one’s pregnancy.

“Diastasis” in the term diastasis recti means separation. “Recti,” on the other hand, talks about the ab or “six-pack” muscles. These are called “rectus abdominus.” When the two terms are joined together, diastasis recti means separation of the ab muscles.

Your body gives way and space for your baby when you get pregnant. Because the tummy stretches as your belly grows big, especially during the third trimester, there is a tendency that the linea alba – the band of tissue that connects your left and right rectus abdominis – stretches. The stretch causes the widening of the two muscles.

Despite being very common among women, it can also happen to newborn babies and men. For newborn babies, they can have their bellies spread, but they will go away independently. Yoyo dieting is the most common reason men get diastasis recti when they do sit-ups or weightlifting the wrong way.

One of the most common symptoms of having diastasis recti is the visible pooch or bulge in the stomach. It can also be characterized by lower back pain, bloating, poor posture, and constipation.

To spot if you have diastasis recti, Healthline.com shared that you may do a self-check through the following method:

Lie on your back, and bend your knees. Put your feet flat on the floor. Slightly raise your shoulders off the floor. While supporting your head with one hand, look down at your belly.

Then, move your other hand above and below your belly button and along with your midline ab muscles. Check if you can fit any fingers in the gaps between your muscles.

If there is a gap or separation of up to two-finger lengths, you probably have diastasis recti. To confirm, you may also come and get checked by a physical therapist or your doctor. They will use a measuring tool called a caliper. They can also confirm if you have diastasis recti through an ultrasound. 

When your muscles finally regain their strength, your abdominal gap may narrow on its own. However, in some cases, you may need to undergo a surgical operation or do a specialized workout for it to go back.

Woman About to Run during Golden Hour
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

Is Running Bad for Diastasis Recti?

Dr. Megan Hoover, a physical therapist, addressed the momsintofitness course for prenatal and postnatal fitness. Her answer is a straight no. You cannot run with diastasis recti. If you have the condition, you cannot do strenuous exercises where ab muscles bulge out, you cannot carry heavy loads, or you cannot even cough without supporting your ab muscles.

Running slows down the progress of reducing the diastasis recti. Moreover, runnersworld.com shared that when you run and have diastasis recti, you are not fully supported in your middle. Your core is not intact, and it will not function as effectively as it should. 

Because your core acts as an efficient stabilizer once you run, doing the activity with diastasis makes your ability to load your core ineffective. Running in diastasis leads to decreased pelvic stability. When your pelvic stability is not well, you are more likely to get injuries. 

If you run while having diastasis recti, especially on your early postpartum days, the exercise might lead you to experience symptoms like hip or low back pain or leaking urine. Even worse, it can lead to orthopedic issues.

So, part of you loves running, and you can’t let it go. I have good news for you! You may be allowed to run by the time your diastasis recti has fully healed.

However, you have to work focus on recovering your tummy first.

Fixing Your Diastasis Recti

The goal of fixing your diastasis recti is to rebuild your core. When I talk about rebuilding your core, it means rebuilding it from the inside and out. The key is to strengthen the deepest abdominal muscle, called the transverse abdominis (TVA) muscle.

If you can strengthen your TVA, it can provide support to those muscles that have been stretched. Slowly but surely, the gap between your abdominal muscles will go away, and it will be smaller until it comes back to normal.

You can rebuild your TVA muscle by doing diastasis recti workouts, which are specialized core exercises. Aside from rebuilding the transverse abdominis, it is also essential to regain strength in your pelvic floor and diaphragm. It will work in conjunction with your ab muscles. 

Covering your belly with a postpartum wrap is also coined as a life hack! Just wrap the velcro material religiously on your tummy right after birth and weeks after. It will help hold your belly and keep it intact. When doing this, ensure that you have the tightest fit to train the abs to go back to where they belong.

Running is bad for diastasis recti, and it could lead to severe body aches and injuries, especially when you do it while the pooch is fresh. But, if you are completely healed and got your tummy gap away, you may always go back to running like you used to. Just do not rush things. It takes time and tons of effort to heal. 

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