Whether you’re 28 or 78, pelvic floor health should always be a priority. And, while it’s true that women who’ve been pregnant and had babies are more prone to weak or prolapsing pelvic organs, all women are at risk for weaker pelvic muscles – particularly during and after menopause. Fortunately, pelvic floor exercises make a tremendous difference.
Not only can they prevent any side effects or symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse, urinary continence or bowel issues, exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor and lower-abdominal muscles can reverse existing issues and prevent them from worsening.
3 Exercises That Promote a Strong, Healthy Pelvic Floor
The following exercises are designed to promote strong, healthy pelvic floor muscles – without any equipment required. Incorporate them into your existing exercise regimen or take 15 minutes out of your day to run through them on a regular basis.
These are the tried-and-true exercise your grandmother and mother were instructed to practice religiously after childbirth. When done correctly, Kegels strengthen the muscles that support the bladder, uterus, urethra, small intestine and rectum.
To “find” your Kegel muscles, try to stop the flow of urine the next time you pee. That’s the same action you’re going to do – while driving, sitting on the couch watching your favorite show, lying in bed, while sitting in your desk chair, etc., – three times a day. Make sure you don’t tighten your abs or hold your breath, or it diminishes the effects of the exercise.
Read the Mayo Clinic’s, Kegel Exercises: A How-To Guide for Women for specific Kegel exercise instructions.
Performing a bridge strengthens both your pelvic floor as well as your lower back, upper abs and “the core” in general. The floor exercises described here and below are best done on a hard surface with a thin layer or carpet and/or a mat for comfort.
To do it, you lay flat on your back with knees bent, hips’ width apart and arms resting palm down at your sides. Take a deep breath and engage your pelvic floor as you push your hips up off the ground – shoulders and upper-back remain flat on the floor. Keep breathing and hold this posture for 5-seconds to start –working up to 10-seconds.
Slowly lower your hips back to the ground. Take a breath in and out and repeat. Do this 10-times. You can also clasp your hands together underneath the bridge as shown here.
Split table top
As long as you’re on your back on the floor, maintain the same position (flat back, arms at your sides, palms down, knees bent). This time raise your knees up so your thighs are perpendicular to your body with shins parallel to the floor – legs and feet together.
Engaging the abs and upper-thighs, slowly separate your legs, allowing them to move out from one another – towards the floor – until they won’t go any further (don’t force it). This exercise also improves hip flexibility. Slowly bring them back together.
Do this 15 times.
Adding these three exercises to your everyday routine will make a big difference in your pelvic floor health.
Are you experiencing urinary incontinence or symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse? Visit us here at Overlake to learn more about non-invasive, restorative treatment methods.