Pelvic floor exercises – like flossing, it’s something we should be doing every day, (especially when pregnant), but often skip. We caught up with Jane Wake, fitness professional and pelvic floor expert to find out more about those exercises we really should make time for.
Why are pelvic floor muscles important?
When we think of the core, we often think of the superficial core, i.e the abdominals or ‘washboard stomach’ muscles. However genuine core strength comes from working the muscles that lie underneath. These help you breath, pee, poo, have sex, give birth, flatten your belly and stop from getting all sorts of aches and pains.
I like to refer to this all-important inner core unit as the ‘3D core’. It is made up of the diaphragm at the top; the deep abdominal muscles at the sides; the transversus abdominis (TA); the multifidus, which runs up your back; and the pelvic floor, which sits at the base of the 3D core.
The pelvic floor muscles are quite possibly our body’s biggest unsung heroes. They are shaped like a hammock to hold the pelvic organs – the uterus, bowel, vagina and bladder – in place. In a nutshell a strong pelvic floor means everything is kept firmly in place and you should have full control over when, where and how often you visit the loo.
Why are the pelvic floor muscles important during pregnancy?
During various times in a woman’s life – including pregnancy and childbirth – these muscles can be weakened which can lead to urinary incontinence. This can vary from occasional little leaks to total loss of control, and is something 1 in 3 women in the UK suffer from (making it more common than hay fever!)
What can I do to strengthen my pelvic floor muscles?
There are a number of exercises you can try, such as the one demonstrated in the video below. There are also a number of apps you can download that will remind you to take the time to do more discreet exercises on the go. What’s more, if you are really suffering from urinary incontinence, there are a number of different therapies to try, including INNOVO, a non-invasive therapy that is clinically proven to work.