“Oh, shoot! I peed a little!”
Whether that’s happened to you or not, whether you’ve had a baby or not, or whether you’re a woman or a man, strengthening the pelvic floor muscles are key to overall health and can even lead to better sex (Did that second part win you over?). Since the pelvic floor supports the uterus, bladder, and bowel, it’s responsible for stopping the leakage for urine, gas, and feces so yeah, it’s kind of important. Weakness in this area can allow for those organs to shift downward causing incontinence and even pelvic organ prolapse. The causes? Aging, childbirth, weight gain are just some of the many reasons for pelvic floor weakness. Some of us are also just born with weaker tissue.
So, how do you strengthen your pelvic floor?
One of the best ways is to learn how to kegel.
The best way to perform a kegel is to simultaneously tighten the muscles that would stop the flow of urine AND stop you from passing gas. It should feel as if you are squeezing in and up at the same time. It is an extremely small and inconspicuous movement, so you can literally do them anywhere.
As you first begin to kegel, avoid tightening your glutes and abs, so that your pelvic floor is doing all of the work. Eventually you can start to put everything together. Instead, focus on coordinating your breath. Inhale and relax your belly and pelvic floor. As you exhale kegel and try to hold it for a few moments. Work towards performing 10 reps at a time.
I know kegels can be a tricky and sensitive topic, but I feel passionately that the more you know, the better off you will be. I highly recommend watching the video below as I provide some visuals, go into more detail on what can happen when your pelvic floor is really weak, and give you some workout recommendations.
Please leave any questions you have in the comments below.