You can’t be a physical therapist and yoga instructor without learning a thing or two (or three!) about the pelvic floor. This is the string of muscles that support your reproductive organs, along with your bladder, small bowel, and rectum. It’s an integral part of your core, and as such, you want it to be strong, supple, and functioning well.
So what to do with weak pelvic floor muscles? Strengthen them! Trust me: happy and healthy pelvic floor muscles are the key to a happy and healthy life—and thankfully, there’s lots you can do to support yours.
How Pelvic Floor Muscles Get Weak
Like with any muscles, the pelvic floor can get weaker through lack of inactivity. But because of their unique function, many other factors may be involved.
Namely, pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause can all weaken your pelvic floor. Obesity and straining due to chronic constipation or chronic coughing can also play a role, as can certain cancer treatments or other surgeries.
Side effects of pelvic floor dysfunction (PFD) include low back pain, foot pain, hip pain, pelvic pain, overactive bladder (OAB) or leaking when you exercise, constipation, heartburn, and frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs).
In other words: weak pelvic floor muscles are no laughing matter!
The Secret Weapon For Weak Pelvic Floor Muscles: Your Breath!
Before we get into any exercises you can do to strengthen your pelvic floor, let’s talk about the most important thing: your breathing. Yup—learning how to breathe properly is the best thing you can do for your pelvic floor.
In fact, it’s only when you’re breathing properly, that you’ll be able to properly strengthen your pelvic floor. And that means breaking in a way that gets your entire core working.
So, to breathe properly, start with breathing in so that your rib cage expands a full 360 degrees.
Then exhale gently and slowly, as if you were breathing out through a straw or candle. The longer the exhale, the better.
And never (as in, never, ever) push down or bear down when exercising. Gentle is always (as in, always, always) the way to go.
Want to see good breathing for your pelvic floor in action? Check out this video, where I walk you through the process (bonus: breathing like this will also help you relax, soothe stress, and sleep better!)
Best Exercises For Your Pelvic Floor
Perhaps you’ve heard of Kegels. These are the exercises that are commonly used to help strengthen the pelvic floor. They’re great for helping with urinary incontinence, and with combatting all those side effects of PFD we covered earlier.
Not sure how to get started with Kegels? I’ve got you covered with this beginner’s guide:
Finally, if you’re ready to stop leaks, ditch pain, and finally build a strong pelvic floor, then my ReWire Pelvic Floor Playbook is for you. Healing can be easier than you think, with a program specifically designed to strengthen your core and help you gain confidence in your body again. Get ready to love and trust your body again, and feel fit, strong, and fabulous in the process!