The pelvic floor is only an issue for older women who have had children, right? Not at all, everyone needs to understand and look after their pelvic floor, and doing so will give you better, more enjoyable sex.
This muscle has many functions that have nothing to do with getting to the loo in time. Not least of all is safeguarding your ability to exercise without limitation, complication or interruption, well into the future.
Did you know:
A happy pelvic floor enhances his pleasure and your orgasms – if better sex is not reason enough to work it, read on.
Your pelvic floor works in partnership with your core muscles. Having a strong core means a better protected pelvic floor.
Maintaining a healthy body weight – or losing a few kilos, reduces the pressure on your pelvic floor helping prevent or manage the urgency to pee.
A healthy pelvic floor reduces the incidence of back pain as it is the ’floor’ part of the core unit supporting your spine.
Just before or at the start of your period your pelvic floor can have more hormone induced laxity making high impact exercise uncomfortable.
The genetic component of pelvic floor weakness, means even young, pre-motherhood women can struggle with pelvic floor issues.
As tissue elasticity declines with age, women who haven’t had babies can also experience a weakening of their pelvic floor.
Most of those who do actually attempt to train it, work their pelvic floor incorrectly.
Some of the 5 types of incontinence have more to do with how efficiently your muscle can relax than contract.
Both men and women have a pelvic floor muscle – yes really.
What to do:
The pelvic floor can be trained in a standing, seated or lying position. Perform some lift and holds, for up to 10 seconds, for an endurance contraction. Add some quicker ‘lift and relax’ for the faster contractions needed when you cough, sneeze, laugh and jump. Remember the ‘down phase’ of a pelvic floor exercise is a ‘letting go’, not a ‘pushing down’.
Ensure you don’t push downwards during your workouts, especially when doing heavy resistance, high impact or abdominal exercises. Likewise, take care in daily life when you bend, lift and carry.
If you are worried about pelvic floor weakness, or want to ensure you are exercising it properly, contact a specialist physiotherapist such as Women in Focus Physiotherapy in Bondi Junction www.womeninfocus.com.au
By Rachel Livingstone Personal Trainer & Owner of The Health Hub www.healthhub.net.au
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