Most of us are familiar with our pelvic regions, but many don’t realize how much this body part really impacts a woman’s health and wellness.
So, let’s get to the science of it. Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles that connect the front to the back of your pelvis forming a hammock. The muscles provide a sling of support to your vagina and bowel, as well as your bladder and uterus.
Pelvic muscles are important for sexual function. Squeezing these muscles to strengthen them can help enhance sexual arousal. The pelvic floor also supports a woman’s baby during pregnancy and helps with the process of birth.
Did you know as you get older, your pelvic floor muscles weaken? This could cause several problems such as stress incontinence, urinary incontinence, as well as pelvic organ prolapse which occurs when a pelvic organ drops from its proper position.
The good news is that there are ways a woman can strengthen her pelvic floor.
Why Should Women Be More Aware of Their Pelvic Floor Health?
Amy Stein, the founder of Beyond Basics Physical Therapy in New York City said, “a strong pelvic floor will help reduce your risk of incontinence, improve your sexual health, and boost your core strength and stability.” (1)
According to an article on NHS Choices, women who have been pregnant have weaker pelvic muscles. Even though you can’t see them, these muscles are important to a woman’s overall health.
There are several ways you can strengthen those muscles and avoid a weak pelvic floor.
4 Exercises to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor
1) “Kegel” exercise
When you go to the bathroom, if you squeeze the muscles you use to stop urinating, then you have found your pelvic muscles. So, an exercise can be sitting down and squeezing those muscles. Squeeze for about 10-15 times in a row.
Don’t hold your breath or tighten your stomach at the same time. Keep doing this and hold the squeezes for a few seconds longer.
Over time, you should see the results of your incontinence improving. Even if you feel good, continue doing these exercises for strong pelvic floor health.
2) The Bridge technique
Lay flat on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Inhale, tighten your pelvic floor, and lift your hips.
This works your pelvic floor muscles. When you lift, hold for 10 seconds, then lower your hips and repeat a few times.
3) Wall Squat
Put your back against the wall and have your feet hip-width apart. Inhale, and lower your body like you are about to sit in a chair, and hold for 10 seconds. Stand back up and exhale.
Inhaling and tightening your pelvic floor while you squat down works your pelvic muscles. Rest and do a few reps.
4) Jumping Jacks
Stand straight with your legs together. Jump and move your legs apart and bring your arms above your head. When you inhale, tighten your pelvic floor muscles and jump out, to strengthen your pelvic floor.
After you jump out, bring your legs and arms back in, to a normal standing position and relax your pelvic floor. Repeat for 30 seconds to a minute.
Performing these exercises even for just a few minutes every day can boost your pelvic floor strength. They are quick and easy workouts that you can do anywhere.
Reviewed July 20, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith