In the confusing world of health, there are few areas more neglected than women’s pelvic health – countless people are unaware of the simple, easy techniques to strengthen their pelvic floor from their own home. Let’s dive into the tips and tricks your doctor didn’t think to share!
In the world of health, there's an often-overlooked player that wields incredible influence over our wellbeing – the pelvic floor. This network of muscles, ligaments, and tissues cradles the internal organs, plays a crucial role in bladder and bowel control, and contributes to sexual function. Yet, the significance of pelvic floor health is often underestimated – not to mention, the array of symptoms women are left to manage without support or treatment, from varying levels of incontinence to chronic pain. Let’s uncover the profound importance of maintaining a strong and healthy pelvic floor, along with effective exercises that can help you harness its power and take back control of your life and your body.
Understanding the Pelvic Floor
Picture your pelvic floor as a hammock, supporting the organs nestled above it – the bladder, uterus (for those who have one), and rectum. A strong pelvic floor keeps these structures in place, preventing issues like pelvic organ prolapse. Additionally, a well-functioning pelvic floor aids in controlling urination, defecation, and sexual function. However, factors such as pregnancy, childbirth, ageing, and even chronic straining can weaken this vital structure, leading to various health concerns.
Enter pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises. Named after the physician who introduced them, Dr. Arnold Kegel, these exercises aim to strengthen the muscles that form the pelvic floor. Kegel exercises not only prevent and address common pelvic floor issues but also enhance sexual pleasure and overall well-being.
Benefits of a Strong Pelvic Floor
- Prevention of Incontinence: A robust pelvic floor provides the necessary support to prevent urinary and faecal incontinence, common issues that can affect people of all ages.
- Childbirth Support: Pregnant individuals who engage in pelvic floor exercises may experience easier labour and reduced risk of complications – in the same vein, those who have experienced pelvic floor problems as a result of childbirth can benefit greatly from strengthening exercises.
- Enhanced Sexual Function: A strengthened pelvic floor can lead to heightened sexual sensations and increased satisfaction for both partners.
- Postpartum Recovery: For new mothers, pelvic floor exercises are vital for regaining strength after childbirth and addressing potential postpartum issues.
- Reduced Risk of Prolapse: Pelvic organ prolapse, where organs descend into the vaginal canal, can be prevented or managed through pelvic floor exercises.
Pelvic Floor Exercise Techniques
Basic Kegels: Begin by identifying the muscles you use to stop urination midstream. Squeeze and hold these muscles for a few seconds, then release. Repeat 10-15 times.
Quick Flicks: Rapidly contract and release your pelvic floor muscles as quickly as possible. Perform this exercise in sets of 10-15.
Elevator Exercise: Imagine your pelvic floor as an elevator with multiple floors. Gradually contract your muscles, as if ascending an elevator, then gradually release, as if descending. Perform this controlled movement 10-15 times.
Bridge Pose: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips toward the ceiling while engaging your pelvic floor muscles. Hold for a few seconds, then lower your hips. Repeat 10 times.
Like any activity, consistency is key. Incorporate pelvic floor exercises into your daily routine – while brushing your teeth, sitting at your desk, or even waiting in line. Remember, patience is vital. Results may take several weeks to manifest, so stay committed and gentle with yourself. Much like any muscle-strengthening routine, it takes time, persistence and dedication – but these exercises are unbelievably simple, making it that much easier to stick with it.
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