Pelvic floor exercises are a vital component of women’s health, helping to improve pelvic floor strength and prevent issues such as incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and pelvic pain.
In this guide, we will explain what pelvic floor exercises are, emphasise their importance for women, provide step-by-step instructions to perform them correctly, highlight common mistakes to avoid, suggest ways to incorporate them into your fitness routine, and recommend seeking professional guidance for optimal results.
What Are Pelvic Floor Exercises?
Pelvic floor exercises, often referred to as Kegel exercises, are a series of rhythmic contractions and relaxations that target the muscles of the pelvic floor.
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and connective tissues located at the base of the pelvis, providing support to the bladder, uterus, and rectum.
Pelvic floor exercises for women are designed to strengthen and tone the pelvic floor muscles, offering a range of benefits for women’s health and overall wellbeing.
Understanding the Importance of Pelvic Floor Health
Maintaining a healthy pelvic floor is crucial for women of all ages. Pregnancy, childbirth, hormonal changes, aging, and certain lifestyle factors can weaken the pelvic floor muscles.
Weakness in this area can lead to urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and other discomforts. Regular pelvic floor exercises help strengthen these muscles, improve circulation, and support the pelvic organs, promoting overall pelvic health. Additionally, pelvic floor exercises can aid in reducing the frequency and urgency of the need to urinate, promoting better bladder control.
Benefits of Pelvic Floor Exercises for Women
There are many benefits of pelvic floor exercises, some of which may target areas you may not have anticipated. Here’s how pelvic floor exercises can benefit women:
- Improved bladder control: Pelvic floor exercises can significantly reduce stress incontinence, preventing leaks during physical activities, coughing, sneezing, or laughing.
- Enhanced sexual satisfaction: Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can improve vaginal tone and increase sensitivity during intimacy, leading to greater sexual pleasure.
- Reduced risk of pelvic organ prolapse: Strong pelvic floor muscles provide better support to the pelvic organs, minimising the risk of prolapse.
- Relief from pelvic pain: Pelvic floor exercises can help alleviate discomfort associated with conditions like pelvic pain syndrome or endometriosis.
Step-by-Step Guide to Performing Pelvic Floor Exercises
So, how do you actually perform pelvic floor exercises? Follow this guide:
- Find a comfortable position, such as lying on your back with your knees bent or sitting forward-leaning on a chair.
- Focus on your breathing, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth.
- As you exhale, imagine the pelvic floor muscles drawing in and lifting, as if you were stopping the flow of urine.
- Relax the pelvic floor muscles as you inhale, envisioning them like a lotus flower opening and relaxing.
- Repeat these contractions for a recommended duration, gradually increasing the intensity and number of repetitions over time.
Common Mistakes to Avoid During Pelvic Floor Exercises
Starting pelvic floor exercises can be challenging at first, or may feel foreign to your body’s usual way of working muscle groups. If this is the case, don’t worry; with some practice and dedication you’ll feel well equipped to work on strengthening your pelvic floor with ease.
As you’re practicing, however, it’s important to avoid certain common mistakes. These include:
- Holding your breath: Remember to maintain regular breathing throughout the exercises to ensure proper muscle engagement.
- Contracting other muscles: Focus solely on the pelvic floor muscles and avoid tensing your buttocks, thighs, or abdomen.
- Overexertion: Start with gentle contractions and gradually increase intensity to avoid straining the muscles.
Incorporating Pelvic Floor Exercises into Your Fitness Routine
To make pelvic floor exercises a regular part of your fitness routine, consider the following tips:
Daily practice: Aim to include pelvic floor exercises in your daily routine, setting aside specific times dedicated to strengthening this vital muscle group. Consistency is key in order to see improvements in pelvic floor function and overall pelvic health.
Functional exercises: Take advantage of functional movements to enhance the effectiveness of pelvic floor contractions. Incorporate pelvic floor exercises into exercises like squats or lunges to simulate real-life situations and improve the coordination of your pelvic floor muscles.
Seeking guidance: If you’re unsure about how to perform pelvic floor exercises correctly or want a tailored program to address your specific needs and goals, it’s highly recommended to consult with a women’s health physiotherapist or exercise physiologist. These professionals have expertise in pelvic floor health and can provide personalised guidance and support throughout your journey.
Seeking Professional Guidance for Pelvic Floor Exercises
For personalised guidance on pelvic floor training and other women’s health conditions, schedule a consultation with our experienced Exercise Physiologist, Leigh-Anne McBride.
Leigh-Anne is well-versed in helping women achieve optimal pelvic floor health through targeted exercises and specialised programs. She can assess your current condition, provide expert guidance on proper technique, and create a customised exercise plan to address your unique needs.
Remember, consistency is key when it comes to pelvic floor exercises for women. Incorporating them into your daily routine and gradually increasing the intensity and duration will yield the best results over time. By committing to these exercises, you can experience improved bladder control, enhanced sexual satisfaction, reduced risk of pelvic organ prolapse, and relief from pelvic pain.
Don’t let pelvic floor issues hinder your quality of life any longer. Take the first step towards better pelvic health by incorporating pelvic floor exercises into your fitness routine. Whether you’re a young woman, a mother, or experiencing the effects of aging, these exercises can make a significant difference in your overall wellbeing.
Invest in yourself and prioritise your pelvic floor health today. Improve your quality of life, regain confidence, and enjoy the benefits that come with a strong and healthy pelvic floor.
Book an appointment with Coast Sport today.