If you are like most people, chances are you are not familiar with the part of your body known as the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is basically a group of muscles that are considered the foundation of the core of your body. You've probably heard about exercises that improve your "core strength." These exercises are actually targeted at your pelvic floor, abdominal and back muscles. Your pelvic floor also provides support for the uterus, bladder and other organs in the lower abdominal cavity.
The Importance of Strengthening Your Pelvic Floor
There are many factors that can lead to the weakening of the pelvic floor. Aging and childbirth are among the primary factors. If you suffer from chronic coughing or if you lead an inactive lifestyle, you could also be putting your pelvic floor at risk. Once your pelvic floor becomes weakened, it can lead to other health problems such as back pain, abdominal pain, prolapsed bladder and uterus as well as diminished enjoyment of sex. This is why it's extremely important to learn how to keep your pelvic floor muscles strong.
The Kegel exercise is a type of exercise that is specifically designed to strengthen your pelvic floor. Before doing this exercise, you need to locate your pelvic floor muscles first. The next time you urinate, try contracting your muscles in such a way that the flow of urine stops. The muscles you have contracted are your pelvic floor muscles (also known as PC muscles). If you manage to stop your urine, you have successfully done the basic move of the Kegel exercise. However, the Kegel exercise must be done on an empty bladder. Do it while sitting or lying down. Start by contracting your muscles for five seconds and resting for another five seconds. Do this repeatedly until you can contract your PC muscles for 10 seconds. Make sure you take deep breaths while doing this exercise and be careful not to contract the muscles in your buttocks, abdomen and thighs. Do the exercise about four times a day.
Pilates is a fitness program that involves plenty of exercises that are aimed at strengthening your pelvic floor. For instance, the knee fold is a low-impact exercise that can gently tone your pelvic floor muscles. Start by lying on the floor on your back with your feet together and your knees bent. Place your arms on your sides and part your legs so that your feet are about a hip distance apart. Take a deep breath and allow the air to travel all the way down to your pelvis. As you inhale, lift one leg up from the floor keeping the knee bent. Even though your thigh muscles are also at work, your abdominal muscles should exert the most pressure. Make sure your hips remain flat on the floor. Return the foot on the floor as you exhale. Do the exercise three times on each leg.