You may be unsure about what your pelvic floor muscles are, where they are and how to exercise them. I hope that the following information will make sense to you and allow you to visualise the way your pelvic floor works as well as teach you how to do your pelvic floor exercises properly.
Firstly it is important to know that our pelvic floor muscles always existed, they didn’t just pop up out of nowhere when you became pregnant!! And also men have pelvic floor muscles so they are not exclusive to women! Men’s pelvic floors are compromised when they undergo prostatectomy so this information is entirely relevant to men too.
What are your Pelvic Floor Exercises?
Our pelvic floor muscles are an important part of our core ; they form the bottom part of what is often described as a ” cylinder of stability”.The other parts of this cylinder of stability are the breathing muscles ie the Diaphragm, our abdominal muscles in front and our lower back muscles behind. All four components of the core need to function in a co-ordinated, balanced way for us to function well. We can get away with an imperfect core but things like marathon training programs and pregnancy ( I often think they’re not as far apart as they seem!) can highlight little underlying issues that may have been there for a long time.
Of course pregnancy take its toll too, hormones soften the muscles, ligaments and joint in preparation for pregnancy and the growing baby weighs down on the pelvic and pelvic floor. Labour comes along and stretches and injures the pelvic floor muscles leaving the poor muscles sore and exhausted. So it’s often after your baby is born that you sit up and take notice of the pelvic floor and feel motivated to regain their full strength and function.
Your Pelvic Floor Muscles are a group of muscles that extend from your back passage to your vagina. They work to support our pelvic contents and maintain continence, ie to go to the toilet only when it is a time that suits us.
Doing your pelvic Floor Exercises:
– Lie on your back with your knees bent:
– Tilt your Pelvis forwards and backwards and rest in a half-way position.
-Place the fingers of both hands on your hips and move them down an inch and down an inch from your pelvic bones ( hips bones)
– Breathe in and out gently, paying attention to your tummy rising as you breathe in and falling as you breathe out.
– As you breathe out, squeeze the muscles around your back passage and front passage ( as if you are preventing breaking wind and preventing flow of urine). Make sure you do not hold your breath and make sure that you do not squeeze your bottom muscles. Hold this muscle contraction for a few seconds and release.
– The release part of the exercise is JUST AS IMPORTANT as the squeezing part. Make sure you can feel the muscles as they release after the contraction you have just held. Play around with duration of the squeeze and try to hold for up to 10 seconds. If you cannot feel the release of the muscles, only squeeze for the number of seconds that you can control during squeezing and releasing. Build up to a 10 seconds squeeze and a 10 seconds release. Repeat this 10 times. Try to add some fast contractions as well but make sure that you fully release between each squeeze.