6 Pelvic Floor Exercises
With millions of people struggling with pelvic floor issues, such as incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, it’s important to understand the importance of strengthening this area. Pelvic floor exercises are an effective way to do just that!
What are the benefits of pelvic floor exercises?
Pelvic floor exercises can have several benefits for both men and women. They can help to strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, uterus, and rectum, which can reduce incontinence and improve bowel movements. Additionally, they can help to improve sexual performance by increasing sensation during intercourse.
Pelvic floor exercises also help to increase core strength and stability, which can lead to improved posture and balance.
For women in particular, pelvic floor exercises are especially important during pregnancy as they can help prepare the body for labor. During pregnancy, the pelvic floor muscles become stretched due to the extra weight of the baby, so exercising them regularly helps keep them strong and flexible.
The American Urological Association recommends doing pelvic floor exercises to treat overactive bladder and urgency incontinence.
Simply put, regular pelvic floor exercises can benefit both men and women in terms of improving bladder control, sexual performance, core strength, and stability, as well as preparing the body for childbirth.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Kegels, squats, bridge pose, heel slides, happy baby pose, and diaphragmatic breathing are six important pelvic floor exercises to help strengthen your muscles.
1. Kegel exercises
Kegel exercises are the most common and well-known exercise used for strengthening the pelvic floor. It can be done by both women and men. To do a kegel, simply squeeze and lift the muscles around your genitals as if you were trying to stop the flow of urine. Hold for 10 seconds and then relax for 10 seconds before repeating.
Squats is a good exercise to strengthen both your leg muscles and your pelvic floor muscles at the same time. To do a squat, stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly lower yourself down as if you’re sitting in a chair. Hold for 10 seconds, and then stand back up.
3. Bridge Pose
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Engage your core muscles and press into your heels to lift your hips off the floor until you form a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold for 10 seconds, then release and repeat.
4. Heel Slides
Lie on your back with your legs extended in front of you, and your feet flexed upward. Slide one heel at a time toward your buttocks while keeping the other leg extended until the heel is just off the ground. Slowly slide it back and repeat with the other leg.
4. Happy Baby Pose
Happy Baby Pose is an excellent yoga pose for stretching out tight pelvic floor muscles.
Start by lying on your back with both knees bent up towards your chest to form a 90-degree angle, with each foot touching either side of its opposite knee joint (like a baby in a diaper). Reach forward with both hands so that they grasp either side of each foot or ankle before gently pulling both legs closer toward your chest until they feel comfortably stretched out but not overly strained or uncomfortable in any way, shape, or form! Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths before releasing it slowly.
5. Diaphragmatic breathing
Diaphragmatic breathing is a great way to relax your pelvic floor muscles. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place one hand just below your ribcage and the other on your abdomen. Inhale slowly through your nose, filling up the space beneath your ribs, before exhaling slowly through your mouth. Repeat this pattern for 5-10 breaths before finishing the exercise.
These are just a few of the many pelvic floor exercises that can help strengthen and improve pelvic health. Try to do them at least three times a week, and you should start to see results in no time! Good luck on your journey to stronger and healthier pelvic floor muscles!
- Pelvic floor exercises. Pregnancy, Birth, and Baby. 2022.
- 5 Pelvic Floor Exercises for Anyone and Everyone. By Sara Lindberg and Saralyn Ward. Healthline. 2021.
- Pelvic floor muscle training exercises. MedlinePlus. 2020.