What are pelvic floor exercises?
Pelvic floor exercises are muscle-strengthening exercises that are done with the pelvic muscles for strengthening the vagina, bladder and bowels. It is extremely beneficial for women for several reasons.
Why is it important for you to have a strong pelvic floor?
It is very important to have a strong pelvic floor for a variety of reasons and is especially more important for women. As you age, your pelvic floor muscles weaken, leading to numerous problems. Thus, it is essential to engage in pelvic floor exercises that help strengthen the muscles around your pelvis.
But, what are the benefits of a strong pelvic floor?
- Better control of bladder and bowels - The pelvic floor muscles control the bladder and bowel strength that help you have better control of your urine and faeces movement. Stronger pelvic floor muscles ensure you have better control of your bladder and bowels.
- Better sex life - A strong pelvis helps you have better orgasms as the blood flow to your vagina is increased. This will help you gain a better sex life.
- Reduces risk of prolapse - Prolapse is when an organ like the rectum bulges and falls out of place. Having stronger pelvic floor muscles lets you maintain the organs in place and reduces the risk of prolapse.
- Promote better recovery from childbirth or genital surgery - The process of natural childbirth or genital surgery weakens the pelvic floor muscles and prolongs recovery from both. Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles ensures a quicker recovery from both childbirth or surgery down there.
More confidence - With a stronger pelvis, comes a better hold on your urine and bowels. You can go for a walk or travel with more confidence if you don’t have urinary incontinence. Also, you can do things like coughing and sneezing without worrying about leaking either your bladder or bowels.
How to do Pelvic Floor Exercises?
There are various pelvic floor exercises that will help you get a tighter pelvic floor. Try these at the comfort of your own home as they are very easy and do not require any special equipment or training to complete successfully.
Kegels are exercises that involve the contraction and release of the pelvic floor muscles. These are meant to help you with urinary incontinence and also help with the feeling of a strong urge to urinate just before passing a large amount of urine.
- Identify the right muscles by imitating how you would stop a flow of urine.
- In order to do Kegels, contract the pelvic floor muscles for 5 seconds, then keep them released for 5 seconds.
- Do it 10 times daily for 3 times.
Bridge is mainly an exercise for your glutes. But, if you can do this right, it will be able to activate the pelvic floor muscles.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and keep your feet flat on the floor with approximately a hip-width distance in between. Then, keep your arms by your sides, keeping your palms facing down on the ground.
- Lift the buttocks several inches off the ground by contracting the buttocks and pelvic floor muscles.
- Hold for 3–8 seconds in this posture.
- Lower the buttocks to the ground by relaxing the buttocks and pelvic floor muscles.
- This can be done up to ten times each set.
- Perform up to two extra sets after resting.
- Squeeze and release
Squeeze and release is an extremely easy exercise to perform and it helps your pelvic floor muscles to respond quickly.
- Find a comfortable position to sit in while performing squeeze and release.
- Identify your pelvic floor muscles by imitating the action of holding in urine mid-stream.
- Without holding the contraction, quickly hold your pelvic muscles in and release them.
- Let yourself rest for about 3-5 seconds.
- Repeat the exercise at least 10-20 times in each set and do 2 sets per day.
Squats engage a large number of muscles in the lower body and thus help in strengthening the lower back, glutes, pelvic floor, legs and buttocks. But, make sure to have the right form while performing squats, else you risk more damage than benefits.
To strengthen the pelvic floor, you must do a variety of squats that is narrower and shallower.
- Stand tall with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing out slightly. If you're using a barbell, rest it on your trapezius muscles behind your neck.
- As though you were going to sit in a chair, bend your knees and push your hips and butt back. Keep your chin tucked and your neck in a neutral position.
- Dropdown until your thighs are parallel to the ground, your weight on your heels, and your knees are gently bent outward.
- Return to a standing position by straightening your legs and perform 15 repetitions.
- Bird dog
Bird dog is a yoga pose that helps increase your balance and stability. This exercise works a lot of muscles at once like the abs, backs, glutes, hips and pelvic floor.
- Start on your hands and knees, while keeping your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips and then straighten your back and keep your neck in a neutral position.
- Draw your shoulder blades down your back toward your hips while bracing your core.
- To begin, straighten and lift your left leg and right arm at the same time, keeping your pelvis and shoulders in a neutral posture. Don't move your head up or down. Hold the position for 2 seconds.
- Maintaining stability, bend and drop your leg and arm back to the beginning position. Then swap legs and arms, lifting your right leg and arm. This is a single rep.
- Complete 3 sets of 10 total repetitions each.
- Split tabletop
A lot of pilates exercises are based on this particular exercise. The split part of the split tabletop is the one that engages the pelvic muscles.
- Begin with your back on the floor with your knees bent, so that your thighs are parallel to the floor and your shins are perpendicular to the floor.
- With your legs touching, brace your abs and stimulate your inner thighs.
- Begin to spread your legs in a controlled motion so that each knee falls outward, achieving a comfortable posture.
- Slowly return to the starting position.
- Complete 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions each.