Why Pelvic Floor Strengthening is Essential: 5 Key Exercises to Start Today

fitness journey

By Christina

A woman’s body is as complex as her mind. 

The body and mind often even confuse the woman herself

Our bodies are capable of doing incredible things, changing during puberty launching us into womanhood, then again during pregnancy. Growing a child inside of you is a curious event that some enjoy or hate. 

 

But there are lasting, or seemingly lasting effects that happen to a body when it changes too much. 

Regardless of the changes, lasting or not they are unique and management and nothing to be embarrassed about. 

Many of us have heard of kegel exercises, you know to keep the bladder from leaking and other things. But very few of us know anything about our pelvic floor muscles. 

I’ve taken anatomy, and physiology, and yet somewhere along the line, I had only heard about the muscles in terms of what keeps things where they are, not how they can weaken. 

It wasn’t until I did some website work for a pelvic floor physical therapist that I discovered how these muscles can weaken and why they need to be worked, just as any other muscle in your body. 

In this article you will find:

  • What are pelvic floor muscles?
  • Signs of a weak pelvic floor.
  • What causes a weakened pelvic floor? 
  • Exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor?
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What are pelvic floor muscles?

 

These wonderful muscles in your pelvic area give you the ability to control your bladder, or when you need to do number two. Or prevent you from breaking wind when you’re at the grocery store. When you contract the pelvic floor muscles, they lift the internal organs of the pelvis and tighten the openings of the vagina and other stuff.

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Signs of a weak pelvic floor. 

Leaking when coughing, sneezing, laughing or running. In some cases jumping. I had friends who couldn’t jump in a bounce house because of this. 

  • Unable to reach the toilet in time
  • Passing wind from either your anus or vagina when bending over or lifting. 
  • Tampons fall out or are dislodged
  • A distinct bulge at the vagina opening
  • A feeling of heaviness in the pelvis or back
  • Pain during sex

 

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What causes a weakened pelvic floor? 

There are several reasons why your pelvic floor can weaken. It is natural. Here are some of the reasons why your pelvic floor muscles become weak. 

 

  • Hormone changes
  • Overuse from excessive coughing or constipation
  • Natural aging process
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Some medical conditions such as diabetes

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Some exercises to try out are as follows:

If you are experiencing these symptoms try the exercises listed below to see if they alleviate some of your issues. However, if they are not helping then it is time to talk to your doctor or a physical therapist. You may need something a bit more than exercise, and with your doctor, you’ll come up with the best solution for you. 

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Here are a few of my favorite pelvic floor strengthening exercises:

 

  1. Kegels– Draw in your lower abdominal muscles. Squeeze the muscles around the urethra, sort of like you’re holding your pee. Contract for 1-2 seconds then release. Repeat ten times then take a 10-second break. Do this for 2-3 sets. 
  2. Bridges– Lying on your back, your knees bent at 90 degrees,  you lift your hips into the air, squeezing your bottom. Keep your head, arms, and feet flat on the floor. Pushing through your heels. Hold for two seconds then release, gently releasing. Repeat 10X
  3. Heel sliders-. Lay on your back, bend your legs, and keep your pelvis neutral. Inhale deeply, then exhale slowly from your mouth. Draw your pelvic floor up, engage your core, and pull your right heel away from your body. Inhale and return your leg to the starting position. Switch to the left. Do 10 slides on each side. 
  4. Happy Baby poses-Lie on the floor and bend your knees. Bring your knees to a 90-degree angle towards your belly. Sols of your fee should be pointing up. Grap the outside or inside of your feet and hold them. Your knees are broader than your body at this point. Bring your feet towards your armpits, ankles higher than your knees. Push your feet into your hands while flexing your heels. Hold this position for a few breaths or rock gently from side to side. 
  5. Diaphragmatic breathing- breathe in slowly through your nose, bringing the air in deep to your lower belly. Place a hand on your chest and try keeping it still while the other rests on your belly. Allow the hand on your belly to rise. Tighten your ab muscles and let them fall inward as you exhale through pursed lips. 

For further instruction on how to perform these exercises check out the video from healthline.com. 

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In the end:

When changes happen in your body due to some life-altering event, you don’t have to live with a leaky bladder or embarrassing gas. You have options. And happily, with strengthening exercises, you have a way to get yourself back to normal. 

If these do not work, or you find that they are not enough talk to your doctor (gynecologist). It doesn’t have to be something you find shameful or embarrassing. Your doctor has seen and heard worse. 

Reclaim your life, and squeeze those muscles.

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Hi, I’m Christina

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I’m the coffee-addicted creative behind Christina Q. Writes. As a full-time writer and lover of history, I share insights into my crazy wonderful life.  Christina Q. Writes is where I share tips and advice to help you live simply and in the moment, and do it your way. Don’t be afraid to laugh at my mistakes!