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  • Writer's pictureEmma Carpenter

Exercise to help with my pelvic floors

How can you exercise safely whilst having weak pelvic floors?

Have you ever been worried to go workout or go to jump street with your child as you are worried about "leaking" when it comes to the downstairs department? You are not alone 50% of women who have given birth will have weak pelvic floors and 40% of women who haven't had children will have weak pelvic floors too. Yes you dont have to have given birth to have weak pelvic floors. Your job could entail heavy lifting, you could compete in sports like weightlifting, horse riding, any exercises that are classed as high impact, the women can suffer with weak pelvic floors. Your pelvic floors is connected to your diaphragm. When you have a baby or compete in high impact sports the muscles around your pubic bone and coccyx becomes weakened, they support the bowel and bladder in women so when those muscles become weakened due to having weakened pelvic floors this can in turn cause leaking of urine and including faeces.

Now we have got the science behind pelvic floors finalised let's get into the main reason I am writing this blog. Exercise, can you exercise when you have weak pelvic floors? Why are so many women are worried to exercise with a weak pelvic floors? Is it due to the embarrassment of leaking? Or is it the lack of knowledge behind exercise and pelvic floors? I think its mainly down the the embarrassments and not having the right knowledge free to hand to help women exercise safely with pelvic floors. So what I am going to write in this blog today is your 5 exercises you should include in your programme for weak pelvic floors and 5 exercises you should avoid!

5 exercise for strengthening your pelvic floors

  1. Kegel's- Whenever you are doing any daily tasks or lifting you need to use the kegel exercise. Imagine the opening of your vagina and that you are pulling up a kidney bean with the opening of your vagina, pulling your belly button up and in, this will in turn make sure all your connective muscles are engaged to help tighten those muscles to prevent leaking.

  2. Squats- This strengthens your pelvic floors but also gets you a nice toned booty! You need to make sure you set up your stance correctly, feet slightly apart from shoulder width, turn your feet out slightly, keep back straight and push hips and bum backwards. When doing your squat also include your kegel exercise when you are doing the squat movement.

  3. Bridge- laying on your back, heels into your bum, engage your connective muscles using your kegel exercise, push your hip up towards the ceiling and squeeze those booty muscles. Your back should be straight and shoulders and upper back should stay on the ground. Remember to always breathe through the exercises as if you hold your breath this can cause more downward pressure on your pelvic floors.

  4. Split table top- now this is going to sound horrible but it is a really nice and easy pilates exercise but most importantly it helps strengthen your pelvic floors. Just like the bridge lie down so your back is completely flat on the floor, lift your legs to 90 degrees and have your feet pointing straight forward. Slowly move your legs outward as far that is comfortable keeping a slow pace move your knees back together. Make sure to engage your kegel exercise.

  5. Quadrupled raises- being on all floors. Have hands directly under your shoulders, looking forward, then whilst breathing out move your right arm forward and left leg back, on the inhale move back to start position then repeat with left hand, right arm. Remember like I have said for every exercise make sure to engage your connective muscles.

5 exercises to avoid with a weak pelvic floor

  1. Sit ups- most people think this exercise would help strengthen your core muscles so in turn strengthen your connective muscles. This isn't correct, sit ups cause more downward pressure thus causing your pelvic floors to not be engaged causing leakage. However once you have strengthened those muscles back up you can start doing sit ups however make sure you see an expert and you always engage your kegel exercise.

  2. Weightlifting- when you have just found out your pelvic floors are weakened the first thing that needs to go in your programme would be the heavy weights. Heavy weights causes more downward pressure, you need to start back at basics, build the strength back up before you can include weights again.

  3. Double leg lifts- also known as double v ups, this exercise causes a lot of impact on those core muscles, in turn causing more pressure on the diaphragm and then this causing your pelvic floors to loose connection too as these are all the connected.

  4. High impact sports- Like I said with the weightlifting you need to start back at the basics and build back up the strength before you engage in high impact sports like running, gymnastics, horse riding etc.

  5. Any high impact core exercises- start with the basics like dead bugs, heel slides, heel taps and avoid exercises like sit ups,, crunches etc.

When it comes to weak pelvic floors speak to an expert, speak up in the gym to the expert, we are not mind readers and you know what if you told us, 'that exercise caused me to leak a bit?' 'That caused me to have coccyx pain?' 'That caused my pubic pain to hurt?' And what we would say is "yes that is normal with weak pelvic floors, right lets adapt out those exercises today, did you use your kegel exercise and correct breathing when you did that exercise to engage all your connective muscles?" Let's normalise weak pelvic floors and talk more about the side effects to having weak pelvic floors. Leaking urine and faeces is a side effect it's nothing to feel embarrassed about, it's like someone who has allergies, do they feel embarrassed when they are snotty and coughing everywhere? No as they just say 'Sorry I have allergies" and that's what we need to do when it comes to weak pelvic floors.

Now at the end of every blog I like to leave you with a few questions to have a think about and please also comment if you want too. Do you suffer with weak pelvic floors? Do you think there is a taboo behind the embarrassment of leaking with pelvic floors? Did you think it was just a condition when you had a baby? Have you tried these exercise before and did they help? But remember guys "let's keep it real"

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