6 simple exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor
A healthy stride is essential, and we’ve written about this in a previous article. Today we’ll show you some simple exercises that will only take a couple of minutes and will help you activate your pelvic floor.
Before we begin: Why strengthening the pelvic floor isn’t the right way to go
Although strengthening the pelvic floor is a common topic, in reality, it’s not what you need to do. The problem is not a weak pelvic floor, but a dysfunctional and inactive one. That’s why all pelvic-floor exercises that really help are the ones that focus on activating this area and involving the whole body.
Realizing that you have a pelvic floor
In order for the brain to control a certain part of the body, it has to be aware of it. Once you show your brain that it has a pelvic floor and it can fully incorporate it into the operation of the whole body, you’ll be home free.
That’s why in our exercises we’ll focus on how to be aware of the pelvic floor.
Try these pelvic-floor exercises, which will benefit women and men alike.
The easiest pelvic-floor exercise: Caressing
The first path towards being aware of your pelvic floor and the whole area of your pelvic girdle is almost unbelievably simple. It involves caressing. While gently passing a relaxed hand over the area of your pelvis, say: “Look, brain, I have this part too. Be aware of it and use it.”
You can caress the:
- lower abdomen
- hip joints
- the lumbar spine and lower back
- tail bone
Yes, even touching the genitals and anal region will help. Don’t be afraid to get your partner involved and pay attention to where he or she is touching you.
Does it seem strange to you that an exercise like this might really help? We have proof. In Eastern cultures where people use water to clean themselves after using the toilet, there is a lesser frequency of hemorrhoids. This is mainly thanks to a better-functioning pelvic floor and sphincter. While washing, people often touch these parts of their bodies, and therefore the brain knows about them and uses them correctly. Cold water also facilitates better blood circulation to the area in question.
Reading tip: Did you know that barefoot people have better sex? You can find the view of a sexologist and physiotherapist on this topic in this article.
Perception is essential. Show your brain that the pelvic floor belongs to your body.
Pelvic-floor exercise using a towel
This next exercise works in a similar way. Roll up a towel and sit down on it in a straddling position. Tilt your pelvis forwards and backwards and pay attention to which part of the body is in contact with the towel. Strive for a slow and fluent movement that you’re fully aware of.
Even though the exercise might seem too easy, keep doing it. It really works, because it teaches your brain to be aware of the area involved.
Get the sphincters involved
Did you manage the previous exercise? Great! Let’s go to the next level.
Continue to slowly tilt the pelvis forwards and backwards. The moment the pelvis is tilted backwards, focus on closing the anal sphincter. This should be the point where you’re touching the towel. Do the same thing when you tilt your pelvis forward. Always contract the area that the towel is touching.
Important! Always contract the sphincter only – the whole body including the face should be relaxed.
Be aware of the change in tension between the contracted and relaxed state.
An “elevator” for the pelvic floor
Once you’ve completed the previous exercise, try another one in the same position.
Activate the sphincter like in the previous exercise. Imagine your pelvis as a platform. You want to elevate this platform together with your activated sphincter as if it were an elevator. Then, slowly lower it downwards and relax the sphincter.
Are you holding your breath during this exercise? That’s ok, but don’t do it for too long. In time, you should learn how to do it while breathing freely.
An exercise for everyday life
Now we’ll try to involve the activated pelvic floor into a natural movement – standing up from a sitting position.
- Sit down in a chair. The feet are naturally resting on the ground. Be aware of their contact with the ground.
- Activate the feet – lean into the floor so you feel like your feet, including the toes, are truly carrying your weight.
- Feel how the activity of your feet is passed into your whole body and activates the pelvic floor.
- Follow the activation, maintain it and stand up using your toes.
If you’re not able to feel how the pelvic floor is being activated, simply elevate it like in the previous exercise. Hold up the elevator and stand up using your toes.
This is the difference between sitting actively and passively.
What’s important in this exercise: Be attentive to how the activity is transferred from the toes over the feet and legs and into the whole body. The pelvic floor is part of a long chain that you’re awakening by doing this exercise.
Try to sit down in the same way.
- Activate your legs so you feel like they’re carrying you.
- Be aware of the activation of your pelvic floor or “elevate” it like an elevator.
- Slow down the movement from your toes and keep the pelvic floor active.
You’ll find other exercises in the e-book (free download)
Spend some time on all the exercises from today’s article. You can continue with the exercises that you’ll find in the Step by Step to Healthy Walking e-book.
Download it for free and do the exercises. Your body will reward you for it. Back pain will disappear, problems with incontinence and your immunity will improve, and you’ll feel happy in your own body.
Sounds worth it, don’t you think?