The pelvic floor is a region of muscles that encompass and can be described or depicted as a sling or hammock of muscles stretching from the pubic bone to the tailbone and are responsible for supporting the pelvic floor area. In females, pelvic floor muscles support the womb or uterus, bladder and bowel. In a male the pelvic floor muscles support the bladder and the bowel.
Some of the common causes of the weakening of pelvic floor muscles are:
For females, the pelvic floor can be weakened due to supporting the weight of the uterus during pregnancy. A vaginal childbirth can result in the over stretching of the muscles. Other conditions of weakened pelvic floor muscles can include, menopause, prolapse, diabetes, an overactive bladder, obesity, extended lengths of time of coughing, sneezing, bronchitis, asthma, lifting heavy weights, and ageing.
For males, the surgical removal of the prostate that is, radical prostatectomy, health conditions such as diabetes, an overactive bladder, and obesity. Other conditions of weakened pelvic floor muscles can include diabetes, an overactive bladder, obesity, extended lengths of time of coughing, sneezing, bronchitis, asthma, lifting heavy weights, and ageing.
Pelvic floor muscle exercises that can help these conditions ...
Kegel exercises are commonly known and designed to help strengthen pelvic floor muscles.
Tighten your pelvic floor muscles by squeezing and holding tight the muscles in your pelvic area. The idea is to isolate and squeeze tight your pelvic floor muscles.
In order to reach the most benefit, try not to use your stomach muscles (ie abdominals), buttocks or thighs.
Kegel exercises can be done, sitting, lying down or standing.
Continue to breathe in and out whilst squeezing and doing your pelvic floor exercises.
Trying not to hold your breath will help you find your pelvic floor muscles.
Hold the contraction for 3 seconds and then relax for 3 seconds.
Repeat this exercise in sets of 10.
Start once, then twice, then three times each day.
Try and aim to do 3 sets of 10 repetitions each day 3 times a day.
Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor - your feet and knees can be slightly apart but no more than shoulder width apart.
Try to flatten your back by pulling your belly button and stomach inwards, tightening your pelvic area and abdominals towards your spine to help flatten your back.
Keep breathing normally in and out - do not hold your breath.
The Pelvic Roll-Up / The bridge / bridging
Whilst keeping your shoulders and upper back to the floor, slowly and gently lift your buttocks up off the floor - keeping your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Squeeze your gluteus maximus muscles (glutes) and backside together.
Squeeze and hold for 5 seconds, and rest for 5 seconds, and repeat.
Stand with feet shoulder width apart and keep both feet flat on the floor.
Try putting your arms out in front of you for balance, or hands on your hips.(Some people may need to hold on to a firm bar for balance).
Bend both your knees nice and slowly - keeping your back straight but leaning slightly forward - making sure your knees are in line with your feet. Imagine you are almost going to sit on a chair before slowly rising to straighten upright again to a standing position.
Whilst bending your knees slowly down and up - squeeze your buttocks and pelvic floor muscles, and engage your stomach muscles to straighten back up.
Try and build up to 10 repetitions, then build up to 3 sets of 10 squats, and rest between each set of 10 for about 30 seconds.
Four point kneeling /4 point kneeling
Your starting position is on all fours on your hands and knees.Keep you back nice and straight.
Whilst supporting your core stomach muscles - bring your alternate hand and elbow, along with your alternate knee, in towards your stomach and then stretch your hand and knee back out again.
Repeat 10 times on one side then rest for 30 seconds or as needed. Then repeat 10 times on the other side, using your alternate hand and knee and rest for 30 seconds or as needed.
Build up to 3 sets of 10 on each side, with 30 seconds rest between each set or as needed.
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