If you’re dealing with bladder leaks (a.k.a. incontinence) or are having issues like painful sex, then you’ve probably heard about your pelvic floor muscles once or twice. These muscles create a sling in your lower pelvis and provide support to your internal organs. Strengthening these pelvic floor muscles is pretty important to keep bladder leaks at bay, especially as we age. We want to keep everything in one place, after all, and avoid pelvic prolapse.
However, working out these muscles is a little different from, say, lifting weights at the gym. So, we’re going to teach you how to move it, move it. Keep reading to learn how you can easily exercise your pelvic floor muscles just by going about your normal day. We have five ways to help get you started.
1. Lift, Push, Pull, Climb
Turns out, you can exercise your pelvic muscles while you move around the house. Even if you don’t go to the gym, there’s probably at least a few times throughout the day where you find yourself pushing, pulling or lifting some sort of object. If you do these motions safely, like bending with your knees and not your back, your pelvic muscles can get a workout, too.
If you climb ladders or stairs regularly, or have to step up on footstools to reach things, you’re working out your pelvic floor muscles. So long as you don’t strain yourself, you’ll make your pelvic floor muscles stronger which helps prevent bladder leaks. So, keep on stepping up.
2. Have Sex
You’ve probably heard the rumor that exercising your pelvic floor muscles makes sex more enjoyable. Well, those rumors are absolutely correct. What’s better is that you are actually exercising your pelvic floor muscles while having sex. Just having penetrative sex works the pelvic floor more to strengthen your muscles.
If you want to take it up a notch, you can even clench your pelvic floor muscles for a few seconds during intercourse, sort of like Kegels. It’s a little extra exercise for your pelvic floor and it’ll feel great too. Note that if you’re trying to strengthen those muscles to reduce pain during intercourse due to a hypertonic pelvic floor, you might want to try other options first.
3. Stand Up
That’s right, you heard us. There are a whole host of activities that can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and standing up is one of the most basic ones in the book. When you think about it, standing up from a seat is a lot like lifting or pushing an object, as far as your body’s movements are concerned. Just keep your back straight and always lift yourself up with your knees.
4. Run Or Jog
Maybe you exercise pretty regularly, and maybe you don’t. Either way, you might find yourself jogging from point A to point B when you’re in a hurry. If that’s the case, your pelvic floor is getting a workout just from the jogging or running, without you doing anything else. Don’t try to add Kegels or other pelvic floor exercises on top of the running, though. Working out your pelvic floor while running causes extra internal pressure and may just weaken the muscles rather than strengthen them, which can make bladder leaks wose.
5. Use The Restroom
Did you know that you use your pelvic floor muscles every time you visit the restroom? In fact, your pelvic floor has a lot to do with controlling the floor of your bladder and bowels, so they’re working even when you don’t realize it. So, going to the bathroom is a mini workout for your pelvic floor muscles. You don’t even really have to do anything out of the ordinary.
Always Keep Moving!
You might be surprised how often you use your pelvic floor muscles. They’re constantly working, every time you breathe, even while you sleep. That’s a lot work they’re doing. But, if you want to really engage and strengthen your pelvic floor muscles without straying too far from your normal routine, try some of the activities listed in this article. Or, even take it up a notch further by incorporating Kegels or other pelvic floor exercises into your schedule. Keeping your pelvic floor muscles strong goes a long way to improving bladder leaks.
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By Jessica Thomas, MPH