Harnessing the power of the pelvic floor is easier than you expect. Do you ever have one of those “uh oh” moments, when you wish you could just crawl under a rock and hide? Sometimes an unexpected sneeze can do it, a longer than anticipated car ride, or maybe a hilarious comment you didn’t see coming? You can feel your abdomen clutch as something inside you releases. Your instinct tells you to run to the nearest bathroom, but it may be just too late. This awkward moment may be courtesy of weakened pelvic floor muscles. It can happen to the best of us, but especially after having kids. Another one of those things no one ever tells you! You can change this by strengthening the pelvic floor. Hint: it only takes 10 minutes of training per day. Get inspiration from the exercises we included in this blog post.
Let’s begin at the beginning, what is the pelvic floor?
Frankly, not the snazziest name for one of the most important muscle groups in your body, the pelvic floor muscles connect your pubic bone, in the front, with the base of your spine, in the back. This muscular sling holds and controls some pretty essential organs, such as the uterus, vagina, bowel, and bladder in women, and the bowel and bladder in men.
Alright… But, what does the pelvic floor do exactly?
This crucial set of muscles plays a key role in many of your daily activities, whether you realize it or not. The pelvic floor muscles are responsible for controlling urination and bowel movements. They are also essential during sex and childbirth. Needless to say, neglecting to maintain the strength of this muscle group could lead to big problems…
Ok, ok, I get the problem but how does this happen? I mean, how can the pelvic floor be weakened?
The pelvic floor works hard every day contributing to basic bodily functions. However, there are many ways in which these muscles can be stressed or damaged. Pregnancy and childbirth, for example, can stretch and weaken the pelvic floor muscles causing difficulties postpartum. Even without a major life event, however, pelvic floor muscles can become weakened. Chronic stress or tension can cause unconscious tightening and damage to the muscles. Overuse can also lead to problems. Constantly holding a full bladder or carrying extra weight can tax the pelvic floor muscles beyond their natural capacity causing them to be weak and fail when we most need them.
What happens in the body, technically speaking, if the pelvic floor is weakened?
These hidden muscles down below can be easy to take for granted and forget about. Sadly, once the muscles are weakened in any of the ways mentioned above, daily life can become much less comfortable. Damaged pelvic floor muscles can lead to stress incontinence, or involuntary loss of bladder control and urine loss. Like I wrote before, that bladder you used to be able to hold all night or at least throughout a two-hour movie, can become a bit less trustworthy. Jumping on the trampoline with the kids is a thing of the past. Sneezes may require more than just a tissue to contain. Laughing so hard you actually pee your pants turns out not to be very funny at all.
The solution: How can a weakened pelvic floor be strengthened?
Have no fear if you are already suffering symptoms of stress incontinence. Thankfully, Carin not only has a product to help you deal with any day-to-day issues, but also has an easy to follow program to get you on the right track back to a strong pelvic floor. By using Carin’s absorbent, hi-tech, smart underwear there will be no more worries about embarrassing wet spots or a need to wear bulky pads to feel safe and confident. By following a basic exercise program for the pelvic floor muscles, all these concerns can become a faded memory.
It’s all about maintenance!
Just as we brush our teeth everyday and see a dentist regularly for check-ups, we should also be paying attention to and maintaining our pelvic floor muscles. Like our teeth, we use our pelvic floor everyday, many times a day, so it is important to keep it healthy and strong. Carin’s app guides each user step-by-step through an exercise plan to strengthen and maintain the pelvic floor. The exercises require no special equipment or expensive gym membership, only a commitment to pursuing and maintaining a healthy body. How does this look? We visualized three of the exercises you get in the programme.
Get inspired to harness the power of your pelvic floor with these Carin Exercises:
Exercise 1: Gym ball warrior
This is a great exercise for improving your core balance. Keep your body stable while lifting up your leg. Take it slowly, this is not about the best performance but about excellent coordination of the movement. When finding the right position stay still for about three breaths. Important to watch your breathing: When you inhale you keep your pelvic floor relaxed, when you exhale you contract the pelvic floor. Your breaths last for 5 seconds each.
Tip: Use a carpet for the gym ball like we did in the picture. It prevents the ball from rolling away.
Exercise 2: Three legged dog
This exercise looks easy, but it can get really challenging when you start focusing on the pelvic floor muscles. You start with finding the right pose while being on 2 knees. Ground your hands in the floor, all you fingers should be fixed and your hand palms are firmly positioned on your mat / carpet/ towel. Then, make sure your back is straight, not arched in any way and that your neck is in a straight line with your back. Don’t wiggle the hips, they should be in a straight line. Then very slowly lift up your leg. While doing that, keep your position fixed. When lifting up your leg exhale and contract your pelvic floor muscles. When placing your leg down on the mat inhale and relax the muscles. Breaths last for 5 minutes.
Tip: We advise to keep a mirror to watch your position. You can wiggle or arch your back without knowing it.
Exercise 3: Old fashioned Pilates leg lift
This is an old fashioned Pilates exercise that’s still one of our favorites! It challenges your core strength and coordination. We begin with practicing awareness. Whilst lying down on the ground keep in mind to support your pelvic floor with your hands. Practice the breathing while contracting / relaxing the muscles. If you are a beginner, it is best to start this exercise by stretching the legs out to the ceiling and keep one leg bend on the mat. Depending on your muscle strength and core stability you can make the exercise more vertical and decide to stretch the other leg on the mat. Be aware not to arch the back and keep it pressed to ground. We advise you to move to the next level only when you master the exercise.
Good luck with harnessing the power of your pelvic floor! If you need more information write us a message firstname.lastname@example.org.