The pelvic floor is responsible for many key activities including supporting your internal organs, assisting with stabilizing your spine and pelvis, and controlling essential functions like bowel/bladder and sexual activity. Having adequate pelvic floor strength is essential to ensuring all of these processes occur like they should. Aging, pregnancy, surgery, and trauma can all result in a weakened pelvic floor and can present as any of the following symptoms:
- Urinary or bowel incontinence
- Pelvic pain, sacroiliac pain, low back pain
- Frequency of urination
- Pain with sexual intercourse
- Reduced intensity of orgasm
In order to maintain your pelvic floor strength, consider these recommended exercises:
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Imagine a flower blooming out of your vagina. Pull all the petals in as you lift the pelvic floor, then close the doors of your vaginal opening. Keep your buttocks relaxed throughout the contraction. Hold for 5 seconds up to 10 times, or for a different challenge, perform the motion quickly and repeatedly. Once completed, relax completely, allowing your vagina to bulge outwards slightly. This will relax the muscles of the pelvic floor fully.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Inhale, then exhale, and create tension in your abdominals. Perform kegel. Then march one knee to 90 degrees then the other. Maintain steady breathing in this position. To make more difficult, alternately straighten one leg and return to 90 degrees, then the other. Repeat 6-8 times each side.
Knee to Knee:
Lie on your side with legs stacked and knees bent. Create tension in your abdominals and perform a kegel. Once contracted, lift the top knee then the bottom knee. Hold briefly while maintaining steady breathing, then lower one knee at a time. Repeat 8-12 times each side.
Bridge with March:
Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet on the floor. Create tension in your abdominals then perform kegel. Lift hips off the bed without tilting your pelvis. Once lifted, alternately raise one leg from the floor then the other, being sure to keep your pelvis level. Lower down. Repeat 8-12 times each side.
Kneel with one foot in front. Create tension in your abdominals. Perform kegel, then press into both legs as you lift from the floor. Maintain breathing as you hold briefly, then lower down slowly. Repeat 6-8 times each side.
Consider a regular routine of pelvic floor exercises to maintain your pelvic health. Putting a floor back under your feet will ensure a strong foundation for your future.