For too long, improving pelvic floor health has been seen as a taboo topic. But the truth is, having strong and healthy pelvic floor muscles matters for every individual’s overall wellbeing. It’s so important to understand how these core muscles work and how they can be strengthened through lifestyle changes and exercises. This article looks to explore what is so important about your pelvic floor, and how you can take steps to improve it.
1. Uncovering the Importance of Pelvic Floor Health
Pelvic floor health is essential for maintaining a healthy and comfortable life. Weak or damaged pelvic floor muscles can lead to a host of problems, including pain, incontinence, and even sexual dysfunction. So, it’s important to take the time to understand and manage these muscles for better overall health.
Learn the Basics of Your Pelvic Floor
A good place to start is understanding the anatomy of your pelvic floor, including where these muscles are located. This knowledge can help you understand why strengthening these muscles is so important.
Assess Your Pelvic Floor Health
Before you dive into creating a routine of exercises to strengthen and support your pelvic floor, it’s a good idea to assess your current pelvic floor health. To do this, you’ll need to:
- Consult a healthcare professional
- Identify lifestyle habits that can affect these muscles
- Take simple measurements to get an understanding of your pelvic “floor-ness”
Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
Once you understand where you stand in terms of your pelvic floor health, you can start creating a routine that strengthens these muscles. You can do this by doing delicate exercises like Kegels and other pelvic floor-focused movements. Additionally, there are a variety of pelvic floor-focused devices available that can help you engage these muscles correctly.
Taking the time to educate and strengthen your pelvic floor can ensure you live a healthy, comfortable life. Making these muscles a priority now can help you avoid a variety of issues in the future.
2. Exploring the Mechanics of Pelvic Floor Muscles
Pelvic floor muscles, or the “lower core”, are essential for supporting our spine, hips, and pelvic organs—each of which plays an incredible role in our everyday lives! To better understand them, let’s explore the anatomy of our pelvic floor muscles.
- 1. Muscles of the Pelvic Floor:
The pelvic floor muscles help provide a strong, supportive frame for the pelvic organs, along with the ligaments attached to them. The four main muscles are the pubococcygeus, iliococcygeus, puborectalis, and iliorectalis. Together, these muscles assist in urinary and bowel control, stabilizing the spine, and keeping us balanced for movements like walking and jumping.
- 2. Exercises to Strengthen the Pelvic Floor:
The exercises that are most beneficial for pelvic floor muscles are commonly known as Kegel exercises, which train the muscles to relax and contract repeatedly to increase strength and support for the pelvis. Kegel exercises may be done sitting, standing, or lying down. To get the most benefit, it is important to pay attention to the pelvic floor muscles that you are specifically working on.
- 3. Benefits of Strengthening the Pelvic Floor:
By performing these exercises consistently, you can enhance all aspects of pelvic floor health. Strong pelvic floor muscles can lead to improved sexual response, increased bladder control, and improved posture and stability. It can also give you the confidence to take on any physical activity you may come across.
3. Easy Strategies for Strengthening Your Pelvic Floor
Strengthening your pelvic floor boosts your overall health – both physical and mental. Yet, many people don’t know how to perform exercises for their pelvic floor. Here are three easy strategies that you can start today!
- Kegels: Kegels are the most common exercise for strengthening your pelvic floor. Start on your back with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent and open. Engage the muscles that will keep you from passing gas or releasing urine and hold for 10 seconds. This contraction can be done anytime, anywhere, making it super accessible and easy.
- Squats: Squats are a great exercise for any level. Set your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping your heels down and your toes slightly pointed forward. Press through your heels to stand up, and then (while focusing on your pelvic floor muscles) return to a squat position. This can be done anywhere and is an easy way to increase strength.
- Pressing:To do presses, position yourself on all fours with your back straight. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles and press your stomach towards the floor. Again, this can be done anywhere and can help build the strength of your pelvic floor.
Each of these exercises should be done sparingly in order to get the best results. Doing 10 reps three times a week is generally recommended for strengthening the pelvic floor. Additionally, you can try adding a resistance device or light weight to each exercise in order to further strengthen the area.
These are simple strategies that you can start doing today to take control of your pelvic floor health. Have fun with these exercises and keep working to increase your strength!
4. Transforming Your Pelvic Floor Health Through Movement
Boost your pelvic floor strength
- Use a balance ball or an exercise ball as a chair to help improve
- pelvic floor health and strengthen the core muscles in your abdomen and
Making use of Pilates, yoga, and other forms of movement can help you build and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Specific Pilates and yoga poses, like bridge or cat/cow can help put your body in positions to be able to effectively and safely work your pelvic floor muscles. Depending on your physical abilities, you can modify certain poses and add more challenging ones.
Trengthen your hips and core
- Squats help build up leg and hip muscles.
- Lunges and side-squat variations can take the movements one step further.
- Hip hinge exercises also help. These can be done with an exercise ball or just simply standing up.
Building strength in the hips and core can help you gain better control over your pelvic floor muscles. Doing exercises like squats, lunges, and hip bridge variations can help develop strength in the hip and buttock area while engaging the pelvic floor muscles. Pilates and yoga can also help you focus on building core strength, as well as engaging the gluteal and pelvic floor muscles.
To add further benefit, make sure to do the exercises slowly and with control, and focus on the depth and range of motion. Keeping correct biomechanics can also help strengthen your muscles in a safe way and prevent injury.
5. Knowing When To Talk To Your Doctor About Your Pelvic Floor Health
We all know to talk to our doctors about health issues that concern us, but it can feel intimidating to open up about our pelvic floor health. It’s an area of our body that many of us feel uncertain and embarrassed talking about. But if you’re having any discomfort or pelvic floor-related problems, it’s important to speak to your doctor to get the help you need.
If you’re struggling with any of the following issues, it could be time to book an appointment with your doctor:
- Urinary or fecal incontinence.
- Frequent, painful, or overly heavy periods.
- Painful or uncomfortable intercourse.
- Pain in your belly or lower back that isn’t going away.
It’s important to recognize that pelvic floor problems can affect any person, regardless of gender, age, or history. If you’ve been dealing with any of the issues listed above for more than a few days, it’s time to talk to your doctor. They will be able to assess your condition and provide the right treatments.
Don’t suffer in silence! Pelvic floor health is important, and if you’re having problems, don’t hesitate to see your doctor.
Our understanding of pelvic floor health is continually growing, but it is comforting to know that there is a tool to help us become more in touch with this essential part of our body. Strengthening our pelvic muscles can bring unprecedented health benefits and can be a significant source of improved comfort and security. As we continue to learn more about the pelvic muscles, we can do our best to stay in touch with these important parts of our bodies. Here’s to a healthy and strong future!