Two main exercises for women

Have you ever leaked while running? Or maybe when you cough, sneeze, laugh or jump?

This is likely due to weak pelvic floor muscles – the muscles responsible for supporting the bladder, uterus and bowels.

When we’re running, internal pressure places extra demands on your pelvic floor, meaning it needs to work harder than if you were standing, sitting, or walking—as do other high-impact activities like jumping and pelvic floor jumping. Weight lifting.

Both women and men can experience pelvic floor dysfunction.

“The pelvic floor muscles are located in your pelvis and run from back to front, from your coccyx to your pubic bone and across your sit bones on the side,” explains Rosie Stockley, Ph.D., a prenatal and postpartum exercise specialist and founder. from mamawilOnline fitness club for women.

They form part of your supportive core, along with your deep in the abdomen and the muscles of the back and diaphragm, which work together to promote good posture and support the spine.

They support the organs above, such as the intestines, bladder, and a woman’s uterus. During pregnancy, they also support the baby.

What are the symptoms of pelvic floor weakness?

When the pelvic floor muscles are working properly, they can be lifted to ensure complete control of the bladder and bowels, as well as relax them to pass urine and stool and assist in labor in women.

However, when it weakens, symptoms such as leakage, pressure, pain, or prolapse can occur, Stockley explains.

For women, pregnancy and childbirth can place significant pressure on the pelvic floor, so women who are pregnant and after childbirth, or who are planning to have a baby, are encouraged to perform pelvic floor exercises before, during, and after pregnancy to reduce or avoid incontinence.

pelvic floor during pregnancy

Some women may experience symptoms like pelvic heaviness, or possibly leaking during pregnancy — others may not feel anything at all, Stockley explains. “What we do know is that a growing baby puts pressure on the pelvis (and abdomen and lower back) where it normally isn’t, so this can affect the pelvic floor muscles,” she says.

In a vaginal delivery, the pelvis widens, and the muscles become tighter and thinner in order to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal. They will return to normal, but they will need exercises to strengthen them again.

With a cesarean section, there will still be pressure on these muscles, and if the mother continues until the end of pregnancy, the body will begin to prepare for vaginal delivery and the muscles will begin to move. Being strong in your pelvis after childbirth will literally help you get back on your feet.

There is a link between postpartum depression and incontinence, Stockley points out, so making time to perform pelvic floor exercises is important for a mother’s mental and physical health. “The connection between the two isn’t surprising, given how important it is for our bodies to function independently, so this shouldn’t be ignored,” Stockley says.

How to strengthen your pelvic floor – exercises for runners, pregnant women and postpartum

The simplest way to stimulate your pelvic floor, Stockley says, is to squeeze your pelvic floor muscles. “This should then be accompanied by complete relaxation, but not with a push-down,” she says. Below, Stockley suggests two pelvic floor exercises to guide you through the process.

“It’s very important to completely relax the muscles between repetitions, and then take a breath to reset,” Stockey notes. As with any muscle, overusing it can lead to fatigue and this will not help it strengthen effectively. It is also important to breathe fully into the abdomen when inhaling, as there is a strong connection between the diaphragm and the pelvic floor.

Pelvic Floor Exercise 1: Slow and steady activation

Builds stamina and strength – for those times when you need to work your pelvic floor throughout the day. This exercise will help you activate the slow endurance side of the muscle with a constant hold, which is the muscle activation that will happen in your daily life.

  1. Get into a comfortable position, either:
    Bowing on all fours
    Sitting with a straight spine
  2. Take a few deep breaths to start by placing your hands on your diaphragm if you wish; Take a full inhale, exhale long, and repeat x 2.
  3. Then, inhale deeply, and as you exhale, imagine drawing through your anus and holding onto it. Do not tighten your buttocks or any other part of your body. If you don’t know where to press, imagine you’re trying to stop wind from escaping or trying to stop urine from coming in. Ideally, you want a combination of both.
  4. Hold for as long as possible, up to 10 seconds, and then soften. Don’t worry if your pelvic floor softens while you try to hold it. When relaxing next, don’t push down, just loosen up—imagine your pelvic floor like a spread out quilt.
  5. Take a full inhalation and a long exhalation – repeat the contraction again as you exhale.
  6. Repeat this pattern x 10.
    1. Note: If you have just had a baby, you will start with these exercises lying down, working up to sitting and later standing. “We want to get to standing because our standing pelvic floor muscles are the most used,” Stockley says.

      Pelvic Floor Exercise 2: Quick-twitch muscle activation

      It trains muscles to run quickly and sharply when needed. For times when you need quick stimulation of your pelvic floor muscles when you’re under high stress – eg, sneezing, coughing, running. ‘This is more of a quick ‘grab’; Think: up, up, up—like a pulse, Stockley says.

      1. Get into a comfortable position, either:
        Bowing on all fours
        Sitting with a straight spine
      2. Take a full inhale and exhale long.
      3. At the end of the exhalation, pulse the pelvic floor muscles while activating the “grab” for a count of 10. Relax by softening your pelvic floor.
      4. Take a full inhale and a long exhale, and repeat the activation of the pulse again at the end of the exhale.
      5. Repeat this pattern x 10.

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