Have you ever sneezed a slightly wet one, and I don’t mean snots- or found yourself unable to control the frighteningly sudden and embarrassingly loud gas leak? It can be a sign of weakening of your pelvic floor.
Besides these obvious nuisance issues, left untreated, a weakened pelvic floor can lead to postural malalignment and pulled muscles. Plainly speaking, you can injure yourself mid laugh and find yourself with your back out and wet all at the same time, stuck bent forward in that hilarious and together tragic moment, for hours.
Partly associated with aging, menopause, child birth, pregnancy, and deconditioning, it is *very* common among athletes -especially cross fitters who strain a lot during intense workouts and runners!
I’ll never forget running a race and having a friend running by me as my trainer to get me to go faster. I wanted to stop and punch him I was pushing so hard, angry he was calling me slow when I was feeling like and Olympian. (It was my fastest ever time and I love him for it -now.) But as I was pushing limits, I also pushed what felt like a gallon of pee that came down all-at-once like those buckets at splash parks. I thought my insides had fallen out and couldn’t understand why I was still running though I was scared AND pumped AND angry and that can lead to some fast running. My poor pelvic floor didn’t stand a chance. It seems to be left out of a lot of conditioning programs. We need more intentional pelvic floor strengthening.
So what IS the pelvic floor? The pelvic floor is comprised of layers of paper thin tissue. It’s job is to keep internal organs in place with an intricate web of muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues. Extending from the urethra to the anus and to the bottom of our spine, they support the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum. Weakening of this system happens to both men and women - though I naturally had to focus my demo video on women, the exercises apply to both.
The group of muscles in the pelvis can (and often do) become weakened over time by any variety of factors such as deconditioning, pressure from exercise, and pregnancy. It is important to work with these muscles often to enable strengthening, better control, and posture. When properly activated they can function properly and also provide better alignment for optimal performance and enjoyment of daily tasks, sports and even sex!
Pelvic floor exercises are easy, quick and effective and good for everyone both as a treatment and as prevention.Once you master them you can incorporate your intention and activate those muscles when you’re engaging your core. This will strengthen you further. But first, we need to work on engaging those muscles to direct our focus.
To start by doing Kegel type exercises you can watch the video description here.
Men, find and engage the muscles that stop the flow of urine and gas. Practice tightening these several times a day breathing freely as you do this 4-5 times a day. The beauty of this for all of us is that nobody needs to know!
To isolate the pelvic floor along with alignment facilitators such as your lower back extensors and hip flexors, you can add a few minutes of bridges to your day or at the end of your workout. The key here is quality over quantity so if you are fit this might seem ridiculously easy. Do it anyway! You can eventually move up to using a ball or a rubber band but this basic move is really very effective.
Breathe through it and take your time to lift the hips and hold the position. Lift hips on the exhale and make sure your back is in a perfectly diagonal line. While you hold this for 5-8 seconds feel the squeeze in your pelvic floor, buttocks and lower back. Release for 10 seconds to the floor to rest and repeat 10 times. Don’t forget to inhale on the way down. Breathing is so important when engaging muscles. Well it is all the time but that is probably a topic for another time.
Please let me know in the comments if you found this useful, message me if your prefer, or share with a friend! I’m also very interested in questions you might have for me. Until next time I sit still for writing,
Special thanks to my Physical Therapist friend Kathy Kattman for the inspiration for this post! #yourtribeisyourvibe Thank you Kathy <3
Theresa WV offers boutique health coaching. My mission is to help individuals overcome barriers to successful consistent immunity boosting healthy living by working with obstructive parts people tend to simply accept. Using Corrective Exercise techniques and Internal Family Systems, coaching is individually tailored for efficient results. My goal is to share knowledge and skills to propel clients to the next level of independent, high level, self lead, success. Become aligned, tap into self energy and thrive. Namaste.