10 Tips for a Healthy Pelvic Floor from Pelvic Floor First.
The pelvic floor is the base of the group of muscles referred to as your ‘core’. These muscles are located in your pelvis and stretch like a hammock from the pubic bone (at the front) to the coccyx or tail-bone (at the back) and from side to side.
The pelvic floor muscles work with your deep abdominal (tummy) and deep back muscles and diaphragm to stabilise and support your spine. They also help control the pressure inside your abdomen to deal with the pushing down force when you lift or strain – such as during exercise.
Pelvic floor (and other bladder or bowel control) problems are not normal. They can be treated, better managed and in many cases – cured. It’s important to see a Woman’s Health Physio if you are experiencing pain or discomfort associated with your pelvic floor. Below are some tips to keep your pelvic floor health.
- Avoid heavy lifting Keep your weights within a manageable range. Never lift heavy weights that make you strain or hold your breath. Avoid lifting weights from ground level. Aim to lift from waist height instead.
- Use your pelvic floor muscles Activate your pelvic floor muscles prior to and during resistance exercises. The goal is for your pelvic floor to be working immediately before and as you lift/lower/push or pull any load.
- Lift with good posture Maintain the normal inward curve in your lower back during every lift/lower/push/pull exercise you do, regardless of whether you are sitting, standing or lying on your back.
- Exhale with every effort Never hold your breath or pull your tummy in strongly during an exercise. This increases the downward pressure on your pelvic floor. Breathe out with every effort, whether it is a lift, push or pull.
- Choose supported positions Your pelvic floor will be under less strain if you perform your resistance exercises sitting or lying down wherever possible. Sitting on a Swiss ball is an excellent option.
- Keep your feet close together You will find it easier to activate your pelvic floor muscles by keeping your feet close together. If you are performing a standing resistance exercise keep your feet no wider than hip width apart.
- Strengthen gradually Start using light resistance and pay attention to performing the exercise correctly to reduce your risk of injury. Gradually increase your resistance when you are confident of your technique.
- Take care when fatigued or injured Your pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles may not work as effectively when you are tired, unwell or have lower back pain. This may make you more prone to symptoms and injury. Take a break and return to resistance training when you have recovered.
- Rest between sets Rest for a couple of minutes between each set of exercises you perform. This gives your muscles (including your pelvic floor muscles) time to recover before your next lift.
- Avoid aggravating exercises and machines Listen to your body when exercising. If your symptoms are worse with a specific exercise, modify it or leave it and perform another exercise to strengthen the same area instead.
Here are 5 great FREE smartphone apps for a Kegel session at home, perfect for easily squeezing a workout into your daily schedule:
– Easy Kegel
– Kegel Trainer PFM Exercises
– Squeeze Time
– Elvie Trainer