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The Important Pelvic Floor Exercises You Need To Do Every Day



The Important Pelvic Floor Exercises You Need To Do Every Day

When it comes to exercising our muscles, we tend to think of the muscles in our arms, legs, bottom and stomach. We work hard to get those areas toned and strong, and we feel fantastic when we do so. We might also think of exercising our brain “muscle” by reading, learning and completing puzzles as part of our brain training.

But what about our pelvic floor muscles? Some of us might be vaguely aware of these muscles and where they are, but do we know what they’re for and how we can keep them strong? If your pelvic floor confuses you, or you’d love to know how to exercise it, then read on!

What Are the Pelvic Floor Muscles?

The pelvic floor muscles, also known as the Kegel muscles, are a group of muscles that form a hammock shape at the bottom of your pelvic cavity. This strong cradle of muscle keeps all of the organs of the pelvic cavity in place, including the womb, vagina, bladder, urethra, small bowel and rectum. 

Men have a set of pelvic floor muscles too, and they perform the same job, keeping all of the pelvic organs in place. For the purposes of this article however, we’re going to concentrate on the female pelvic floor muscles. 

As with all muscles, the pelvic floor can weaken with age, and this weakening can be exacerbated by the following:

  • Pregnancy, particularly so if you carried a large baby or had a multiple babies
  • Giving birth vaginally
  • Going through the menopause 
  • Being very overweight or obese
  • Having a long term, chronic cough 
  • Persistent heavy lifting such as for your job
  • Carrying out extreme high intensity exercise for very long periods of time (marathon running, lifting extremely heavy weights etc)

Having a weak pelvic floor can mean that you:

  • Suffer urinary incontinence – a constant leaking of urine that you can’t control
  • Suffer urinary stress incontinence – a dribble of urine when you cough, laugh, sneeze or pick up something heavy
  • Experience frequent urinary tract infections 
  • Need to urinate often or urgently
  • Suffer pain, pressure or heaviness in the pelvic area

You may also eventually suffer a prolapse, where an organ such as the womb pushes downwards through the weakened muscles, causing a visible bulge to protrude from your vagina. 

But the good news is, with the right exercise, you can prevent your pelvic floor from becoming weak! 

How To Exercise Your Pelvic Floor

You can find your pelvic floor muscles by sitting with your legs uncrossed and pretending you’re holding your need to pass urine. The muscles that you’re squeezing (try it as you read this) are your pelvic floor muscles. 

The best way to exercise them is to practice ‘Kegel’ or pelvic floor exercises. This involves squeezing these muscles regularly, on a daily basis, and holding them for a few seconds at a time. The beauty is, they can be done anywhere, even at your desk or on the train! The NHS has a great guide to pelvic floor exercises for more information on getting them right. 

As well as your pelvic floor exercises, squats and bridges are great for strengthening your pelvic floor. We’ve also developed this 15 minute medium intensity workout, Lift and Stability, that will help to keep your pelvic floor in tip top condition. 

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