This week we celebrated International Women's Day and this year, I have focussed on the wonder that is the pelvic floor muscle.
The pelvic floor is often forgotten about, but it's important because it provides a huge amount of support for women throughout the various stages of life, including pregnancy and menopause.
The pelvic floor is a muscle that supports the pelvic organs, which includes the uterus, bladder and bowel and also wraps around the front and back passages. The muscles form the base of your 'core' which are also made up of your abdominals, back and diaphragm. The pelvic floor muscles can be visualized as a diamond shape, that stretch from the pubic bone to your tailbone, and to each side of your pelvis.
We often don't focus on the pelvic floor until something goes awry and our pelvic floor becomes weakened or damaged. There are loads of factors that can affect the functioning of your pelvic floor, including pregnancy and childbirth, aging and inactivity. Once the pelvic floor is weakened or damaged, it can lead to issues like incontinence.
Healthy pelvic floor muscles allow you to squeeze and relax automatically, but you should also be able to control these muscles yourself. In order to do that, it would be beneficial to complete pelvic floor exercises regularly, to build strength and endurance.
Your pelvic floor should be strengthened in the same way as you would with any other muscle!
We're often told that to strengthen the pelvic floor, you should practice holding in urine. This is not a recommended way to exercise the pelvic floor and holding urine can lead to other issues with your bladder.
If you want to work on the strength and endurance of your pelvic floor, try this short routine that I have put together. It has a brief explanation of the pelvic floor and how you can visualise it, and also takes you through an exercise and breathing. If you were able to do this a few times a week as a minimum, you will be well on your way to a strong and functional pelvic floor!
Let me know how you get on and if you found this useful.