The Pesky Pelvic Floor Problem
If constantly running to the bathroom is becoming annoying, the problem could be the pelvic floor. Weak pelvic floor muscles make life a little uncomfortable. Pelvic floor weakness even leads to pesky disorders. So why is the pelvic floor important?
Dissecting the pelvic floor muscles
Three strong layers of muscle come together to make up the pelvic floor. The muscles stretch tightly from the pubic bone to the coccyx. Think of the pelvic floor similar to a hammock holding up the bladder, intestines, and bowels. And also holding the prostate in men and uterus in women.
Fun fact: The pelvic muscles form part of the core muscles.
The underrated jobs of the pelvic floor
Imagine coughing, laughing or jumping and suddenly having an unexpected bladder movement. Pelvic floors contract and expand on command, giving the ability to prevent accidents. A strong pelvic floor protects the organs and even improves sexual performance.
Why the pelvic floor gets weakened
When exercising, overuse and underuse impacts performance. For women, childbirth damages the pelvic floor muscles. Without strong muscles, women lose a bit of bladder control after pregnancy. Heavy lifting, constant constipation, obesity, and old age are additional contributors. Furthermore, hysterectomies, and conditions like IBS also cause degrading pelvic floors.
3 simple exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor
Before trying pelvic floor exercises, locate the muscle first. When starting out, pelvic floors get mistaken for the glutes or sphincter muscles. To find the pelvic floor, visualize the same muscle to stop urine flow. Over time, isolating the muscle becomes easier. To start, here are 3 exercises to make the floor stronger than ever.
1. Start with squats
Squats can help the pelvic floor as well as surrounding muscles. To start, stand tall, keeping the feet hip-width apart. Bend the knees to assume a sitting position. Drop down until the thighs are parallel to the ground, sticking out the butt at the same time. Keep the back and neck straight. Squeeze the pelvic floor while going down. Repeat 10-12 times for 3 sets.
2. Keeping up with the Kegels
Kegels are the most effective pelvic floor exercise for men and women. The goal is to visualize the muscles used to stop urine flow. Try to raise the muscles up and hold for 5 seconds. Upon release, the muscle drop down. Repeat the exercise 10-15 times, with short rests between.
3. Hold the hip bridge
A hip bridge strengthens the pelvic muscles, core, and glutes. This exercise also creates strong pelvic floor. To do a hip bridge, lay flat with the back on the floor, knees bent. Drive the heels into the ground and life the hips slowly off the floor. Hold for a 4-5 seconds, then slowly return the hips to the floor. Make sure arms stay flat at the sides of the body. Make sure to squeeze the pelvic floor on the way up. Repeat the exercise 10 times for 3 sets.
Practice proper care today
Neglecting the pelvic floor creates problems like Pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) or prolapse.
But a strong pelvic floor has a host of benefits. By exercising the muscles consistently, over time, expect improved bladder and sexual function. Pelvic floor muscles are also essential for recovery after pregnancies and hysterectomies. Without a doubt, a few Kegels can go a long way.