3 Pelvic Floor Exercises To Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Reading Time: 4 minutes
If you accidentally wet yourself when you cough, sneeze or laugh out loud, chances are your pelvic floor muscles are weak. Most women who’ve had children struggle with pelvic floor problems. But you can fix it.
There are exercises you can do to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and prevent a pelvic organ prolapse. And, you can do them while at work or in the comfort of your home.
In this article, we’ll cover what the pelvic floor is, how to active yours, which exercises you need to do daily to avoid embarrassing accidents, and when to see a professional.
- What is the pelvic floor?
- What does the pelvic floor do?
- How to find your pelvic floor muscles
- What are pelvic floor exercises?
- 3 ways to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles
- Is it time to speak to your doctor?
What is the pelvic floor?
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and tissues that attach to the bones of the pelvis, kind of like a hammock. The urethra, intestines, bladder, and rectum form part of the pelvic organs. But for women, so too do the vagina, cervix, and uterus.
When you engage your pelvic floor muscles, you’ll feel a lifting or drawing upwards towards your centre.
What does the pelvic floor do?
The pelvic floor supports your pelvic organs (bladder, vagina, cervix, anus, rectum, prostate, uterus, urethra, and intestines). They also help to stabilize your hips and torso and contribute to your sexual health.
For example, women with weak pelvic floor muscles often complain of pain during sexual intercourse.
Pregnancy and natural childbirth often lead to weaknesses or dysfunction in the pelvic floor, but so too can menopause, age, continuously lifting heavy objects, certain surgeries, obesity, and sexual abuse.
How to find your pelvic floor muscles
There are three ways you can find your pelvic floor muscles.
- The quickest way to activate your pelvic floor is to see if you can stop urine flow while on the toilet. If you squeeze your muscles and can slow or stop weeing, you’ve found your pelvic floor.
- Another option is to try and hold in gas while standing. To do this successfully, you’ll need to squeeze your anus and rectum tightly. This activates and strengthens your pelvic floor muscles.
- Lastly, you can lie down on your back, with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent. Inhale, and then as you exhale, tighten your lower abdominal muscles. It will feel like you’re drawing them inwards. As a woman, you’ll want to focus on lifting the muscles around your vagina. As a man, squeeze the muscles around your urethra, imagining you’re attempting to stop passing wind. Hold this position for three seconds, then relax. You’ll feel the tension leave your pelvic floor.
You want to focus on simultaneously tightening your rectal muscles and the muscles around your bladder. If you’re only contracting the one muscle group, you’re not getting a full contraction
What are pelvic floor exercises?
You may have heard of the term Kegels. These are your pelvic floor exercises. They help to prevent incontinence and can enhance an orgasm. Doing Kegels regularly helps to strengthen the muscles around your bladder, uterus, and bowels. It can stop you from needing to urinate all the time.
If you suspect you may have a pelvic floor weakness, spend a couple of minutes every day while standing, sitting, or lying down practicing your Kegels. Here’s how.
3 ways to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles
This compromises quick contract and release movements of your pelvic floor and helps to strengthen muscles and stop urine leakage when sneezing or coughing.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor in line with your shoulders.
- Inhale, and on the exhale, draw your navel to your spine. Quickly contract and release your pelvic floor muscles.
- Repeat this 10 times for two to three sets.
2. Heel slides
Heel slides target and strengthens your deep abdominal muscles.
- Lie on the floor with your knees bent.
- Inhale, expanding your ribs. Then exhale, draw your pelvic floor towards your navel, hold it, and slowly slide your heel away from you. Maintain the tightness in your core.
- Exhale, and draw your leg back into a bent position.
- Repeat this 10 times on either leg.
3. Toe taps
To increase your core stability, try toe taps.
- Lie on the floor with your knees bent.
- Inhale. On the exhale, draw your pelvic floor towards your navel,
- Lift your right leg into a 90-degree position, then drop it.
- Complete the action on the left side.
- Repeat this 15 times on either side.
Is it time to speak to your doctor?
If you’ve taken to wearing panty liners to stop urine leakage or can’t jump on a trampoline with your child without first going to the toilet to empty your bladder, it’s time to seek medical help. It’s vital you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles now before it becomes a serious problem.
To book an appointment, contact Welwitschia by calling (+264) 64 218 911 or emailing email@example.com, and we’ll put you in touch with a specialist physician or physio. Alternatively, find a doctor here.
You might also find these articles useful:
If you enjoyed this post, why not take a look at our other health guides for women: