Scared to laugh out loud? Time to take control of your pelvic floor.
Turns out you’re not alone! Over one million Australians are affected by a weak pelvic floor causing incontinence, and it’s not just women we are talking about. As the saying goes, if you don’t use it, you lose it! Strengthening our pelvic floor muscles is a must, even more so as we age.
A weak pelvic floor doesn’t just concern young mum’s and older women. In fact, urinary leakage when sneezing, coughing, laughing, lifting or playing sports, can be an issue at any age. Often it leads to feelings of embarrassment and maybe even despair. But, with some education, information, a change in diet and some targeted exercises, there is plenty that can be done to address the problem.
Did you know for our bladder and bowel to function optimally, we rely on the strength and health of our pelvic floor? Furthermore, strength and control of pelvic muscles contribute greatly to maintaining a healthy back, and has even been linked to higher rates of sexual activity! Yet, our pelvic floor is probably one of the most neglected muscle groups. It’s time to stop the neglect and pay it some attention!
Leanne and Fitness Tips Say:
So, what can you do to strengthen and tone the pelvic floor?
● Start by standing or sitting tall. Relax your neck and shoulders
● Visualise the group of muscles that forms a sling from your pubic bone to your tailbone. Now lift these muscles upwards and inwards. Slowly create the strongest contraction possible.
● Hold this for the duration of 3 breaths, consciously avoiding breath holding or tensing other parts such as your shoulders, toes, gluteals, abdominals or face.
● Gradually increase this to 5 and then more breaths.
● It is important to think of the process as ‘lifting’ your pelvic floor. DO NOT use the term ‘squeeze’, as it is likely to encourage unwanted gluteal recruitment.
● 3 good pelvic floor lifts is plenty at one time… add a second or third set as you build strength.