The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that run from your pubic bone to the base of your spine and act like a sling, holding your bladder, bowel, uterus, and vagina in place. These muscles also give you control over when you urinate, and improve your sexual health.
If your pelvic floor becomes weakened you may experience incontinence, pelvic pain, prolapse, or painful sex. Things like pregnancy, back problems, long-term constipation and straining of the bowels, heavy lifting, obesity, or pelvic injury are some of the reasons your pelvic floor may become weakened.
There are several things you can do to strengthen your pelvic floor and prevent it from weakening:
Exercising your pelvic floor
Have you ever clenched your muscles and stopped your urine mid-flow? The muscles you use are your pelvic floor muscles, and this is a great way to strengthen them. We don’t recommend you stop your urine mid-flow regularly as it could cause urinary problems; however once you’ve identified these muscles you can clench and release them at any time. Try doing several sets of 10 to 15 repetitions daily.
Using objects like vaginal cones can help to strengthen your pelvic floor. Insert the cone into the vagina, and use your pelvic floor muscles to hold it in place. Start with lightweight cones, gradually increasing the weight as your muscles strengthen.
Certain yoga exercises can help keep your pelvic floor in good working order. Bridge pose is a good one to start with; lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Inhale and raise your hips off the ground, engaging your pelvic floor as you do so. Hold the position for 10 seconds, lower your hips back down and repeat ten times.
Strengthen your core
Maintaining good core body strength can help improve your pelvic floor, as well as your overall posture. Exercises like the plank can help your core; lie face down on the ground, resting on your forearms and tiptoes, keeping your body straight like a plank. Hold for as long as possible, increasing the length of time as your core strengthens.