Why You Should Start Training Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Wondering what the benefits of training and strengthening the pelvic floor muscles are? Here is your guide to stronger sexual and bladder health.
Pelvic floor muscles may not be the most glamorous of muscles, but they are some of the most important in our bodies.
These muscles, which are located in the pelvic region1, play a vital role in controlling bladder and bowel function, supporting the pelvic organs, and even sexual function.
However, many people neglect these muscles and fail to exercise them, which can lead to a range of health issues.
In this article, we will explore the importance of exercising the pelvic floor muscles and the benefits that come with doing so. Whether you're a man or a woman, young or old, pelvic floor exercises should be an essential part of your fitness routine.
So let's dive in and explore why you should be exercising your pelvic floor muscles.
What are the Benefits of Doing Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises?
Here are six of my favorite reasons for doing pelvic floor strengthening exercises:
- Reduced incontinence: Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can help reduce the incidence of urinary or fecal incontinence2. These muscles help control the flow of urine and feces, and stronger muscles can improve bladder and bowel control.
- Improved sexual function: Strong pelvic floor muscles can improve sexual function for both men and women. Strong muscles can help improve sensation during sex, increase sexual satisfaction, and even help with orgasm.
- Reduced risk of prolapse: Prolapse is a condition where the pelvic organs (such as the uterus, bladder, or rectum) can sag or droop, causing discomfort or pain. Strong pelvic floor muscles can help prevent prolapse by providing support to these organs.
- Enhanced recovery from childbirth: Pelvic floor strengthening exercises can be particularly beneficial for women who have given birth. Strengthening these muscles can help reduce the risk of complications after childbirth, such as urinary incontinence, and help speed up recovery.
- Improved posture: The pelvic floor muscles are part of the core muscles that help support the spine and maintain good posture. Strengthening these muscles can improve core stability and lead to better overall posture.
- Reduced back pain: Strong pelvic floor muscles can also help reduce lower back pain. These muscles work in conjunction with the abdominal and back muscles to support the spine and stabilize the pelvis. A strong pelvic floor can help reduce the strain on the lower back muscles and alleviate pain.
Tips for Getting Started Strengthening Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Identify your pelvic floor muscles: The first step is to identify the muscles you will be targeting. Sit or lie down and try to tighten the muscles around your anus and vagina or urethra as if you are trying to stop the flow of urine or gas. If you feel a tightening or lifting sensation, then you are using the right muscles.
Start with simple exercises: Begin with simple pelvic floor exercises, such as slow and quick contractions. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles and hold for five seconds, then relax for five seconds. Repeat 10 times, and aim for three sets a day. You can then progress to quick contractions where you tighten and release your muscles quickly.
Use a pelvic floor muscle trainer: Consider using a pelvic floor muscle trainer, such as a Kegel ball or resistance bands. These tools can help you focus on your pelvic floor muscles and give you feedback on your progress.
Be consistent: Consistency is key. Try to do your exercises every day and make them a part of your daily routine. You can set reminders on your phone or incorporate the exercises into your daily activities, such as while brushing your teeth3.
Consider using a designed pelvic floor training program: There are plenty of excellent pelvic floor routines and programs out there for helping improve bladder leakage, incontinence, and strengthening the muscles in the pelvic floor. One of our favorites is by Alex Miller, called Pelvic Floor Strong, that provides step-by-step instructions and video examples of the best pelvic floor exercises.
Don't overdo it: Avoid over-exercising your pelvic floor muscles. If you experience pain or discomfort, reduce the number of contractions or stop the exercises altogether. It's important to listen to your body.
Practice good posture: Good posture is important for pelvic floor muscle strength. Sit or stand up straight, with your shoulders back and your feet shoulder-width apart. Avoid slouching or crossing your legs, as this can put unnecessary pressure on your pelvic floor muscles.
Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help keep your muscles healthy and hydrated, which can improve muscle function.
Seek professional help: If you're having trouble identifying your pelvic floor muscles or have a medical condition that affects your pelvic floor, seek help from a healthcare professional. They can provide you with personalized advice and recommend exercises that are safe and effective for you.
Pelvic Floor Exercises – FAQs
Who should exercise their pelvic floor muscles?
Pelvic floor exercises are beneficial for both men and women of all ages. They are particularly important for women who are pregnant, postpartum, or menopausal, as well as men who have undergone prostate surgery.
How often should I do pelvic floor exercises?
It is recommended to do pelvic floor exercises at least three times a day. Aim for three sets of ten contractions each time.
Can I exercise my pelvic floor muscles while pregnant?
Yes, pelvic floor exercises can be very beneficial during pregnancy. They can help prepare the muscles for childbirth and reduce the risk of urinary incontinence.
Can I do pelvic floor exercises if I have a prolapse?
Yes, pelvic floor exercises can actually help reduce the symptoms of prolapse by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. However, it's important to speak with your doctor or physical therapist first to determine which exercises are safe for you.
Can I overdo pelvic floor exercises?
Yes, overdoing pelvic floor exercises can cause muscle fatigue and even lead to pain or discomfort. It's important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of the exercises over time.
Can I do pelvic floor exercises anywhere?
Yes, pelvic floor exercises can be done anywhere and at any time. They can be done while sitting, standing, or lying down, making them easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
How long does it take to see results from pelvic floor exercises?
It can take several weeks or even a few months to see significant results from pelvic floor exercises. However, with consistent practice, you should notice improvements in bladder control and other symptoms over time.
In conclusion, exercising the pelvic floor muscles is an essential aspect of maintaining good overall health and wellbeing.
These muscles play a vital role in many important bodily functions, including bladder and bowel control, pelvic organ support, and sexual function. Neglecting these muscles can lead to a range of health issues, including urinary or fecal incontinence, prolapse, and even sexual dysfunction.
However, by incorporating simple pelvic floor exercises into your daily routine, you can strengthen these muscles and reap a range of benefits, from improved bladder control and sexual function to reduced risk of prolapse and back pain.
So don't neglect your pelvic floor muscles any longer, start exercising them today and enjoy a healthier, happier life.