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Best Exercises to Strengthen Pelvic Floor

best exercises to strengthen pelvic floor

Your pelvic floor, a sophisticated system of muscles and ligaments, acts as a support structure for organs such as the bladder, bowel, and uterus (in women). This muscular mesh plays a crucial role in various functions, such as urinary and fecal control, sexual function, and in women, childbirth. Hence, maintaining a strong pelvic floor is paramount for overall health and wellbeing. Here are the best exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor:

Strengthening the Foundation: The Best Exercises to Fortify Your Pelic Floor

Kegel exercises: Named after gynecologist Arnold Kegel, these exercises are the gold standard for pelvic floor strengthening. To perform Kegels, you first need to identify your pelvic floor muscles, which you can find by stopping your urine mid-stream. Once located, the exercise consists of contracting these muscles, holding for 5-10 seconds, then releasing. Repeat this for 10-15 times in a row, three times a day. Kegels can be performed anytime, anywhere.

Squats: Full squats are excellent for strengthening the pelvic floor. They work by engaging your glutes, hips, and pelvic floor muscles. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, lower your body into a deep squat position as if you’re sitting back into a chair, then push your body back up to the standing position. Do 15-20 repetitions in three sets.

Bridge pose: This yoga pose effectively engages the pelvic floor and the lower back muscles. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Lift your hips off the floor while squeezing your glutes until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold for a few seconds before slowly lowering yourself back down. Repeat 10-15 times for two sets.

Bird Dog: This is an excellent full-body exercise that also targets the pelvic floor. Get on all fours with your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders. Raise and extend your left leg and right arm simultaneously, hold for a few seconds, then switch to the right leg and left arm. This helps in enhancing balance, stability, and of course, pelvic floor strength.

Wall sit: This exercise can help build endurance in your pelvic floor muscles. Stand with your back against a wall and slide down into a squatting position. Ensure your knees are directly above your ankles, then tighten your pelvic floor, and hold for 10-20 seconds before standing back up.

Pilates: The essence of Pilates lies in core strength, which includes the pelvic floor. Many Pilates exercises, such as the Pilates Scissor, are designed to target this area and strengthen these muscles effectively.

Yoga: Yoga poses like the Warrior II, Reclined Bound Angle, and Chair pose can help to tighten and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles over time.

Dead Bug: This exercise is excellent for strengthening your pelvic floor and your core. Lie on your back with your arms extended above you, and your legs in a tabletop position. Lower your right arm behind your head while extending your left leg. Return to the start position and repeat on the opposite side.

Before you embark on this journey, here are a few tips to bear in mind:

Consult a healthcare professional: If you’re starting from a point of severe pelvic floor dysfunction or pain, it’s vital to consult a healthcare professional, like a physiotherapist or urogynecologist, to provide guidance and a personalized exercise plan.

Pace yourself: It’s critical to start slow and gradually increase the intensity of the exercises. Overworking the pelvic floor muscles can lead to further problems.

Listen to your body: Pain is a clear sign that something is not right. If you experience discomfort during or after these exercises, stop and seek professional advice.

Breathe: Many people unconsciously hold their breath during these exercises, which can increase intra-abdominal pressure, working against the objective of these exercises. So remember, breathe in and out smoothly during each exercise.

In conclusion, strong pelvic floor exercises can significantly improve the quality of life, particularly as we age. Whether you’re doing these exercises as a preventive measure or as a form of therapy for existing issues, they can bring about improved strength, control, and stability. As with any exercise regimen, consistency is key, so make these exercises a part of your daily routine and watch your health improve over time.

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