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Friday, July 11, 2014

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Pelvic-floor exercises

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Do you know where your pelvic floor is? Did you know men have a pelvic floor, too?

The pelvic-floor muscles help support the bladder, intestines and uterus and stabilize the lower pelvis. The pelvic floor looks like a hammock of muscles that hold the pelvic organs in place. Weak pelvic-floor muscles can cause pelvic organ prolapse, pain in the groin or lower back and incontinence in both women and men.

Kegels or pelvic-floor exercises can help change all that. Kegel exercises, or pelvic-floor muscle-strengthening exercises, were developed by gynecologist Dr. Arnold Kegel (1894-1981).

A strong pelvic floor is important for good health both in men and women especially as we age. Kegel exercises help increase core strength while improving bladder and bowel function. Strong pelvic-floor muscles help support the lower organs, reducing the risk of prolapsed organs. Kegel exercises help develop a stronger back support, which improves posture and reduces lower-back pain.

Performing Kegels is easy and can be done anywhere. For women, just try to contract the muscles you would use to stop urination. You will feel your pelvic muscles squeeze your urethra and anus. If you feel your stomach or butt muscles contract, then you are using the wrong muscles. Try again, once you have found your pelvic-floor muscles, squeeze and hold them for three seconds, then release. Do that 20 times in a row about three times a day. 

For men, the easiest way to find these muscles is during urination. Just stop the flow of urine halfway through, and don’t squeeze your butt, stomach or legs to do so. Once you can slow down or stop your urination, then you have found your pelvic-floor muscles. Contract these muscles for five seconds, then release slowly, repeat this 10 times three times a day. The more you do this exercise, the stronger your pelvic floor will be.

Want to learn more? Visit me at www.felycesfitness.ca.

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