What is the best way to exercise the pelvic floor muscles?
The pelvic floor muscles play an important role in posture and movement, and respond by activating whenever we change our posture or move a limb. Therefore, you could say that any movement we do throughout the day is actually a pelvic floor muscle exercise!
We know that muscles get stronger and maintain their strength through repeated use and progressive overload, and this is no different for your pelvic floor. This is why we encourage all women to be and stay active whenever possible!
When most of us think about “exercise” though, we envision going to the gym and getting sweaty by doing squats, lunges or even joining in on a class. What many of us don’t know, is that even going for a simple walk will help the muscles of your pelvic floor! What is most important is that movement and exercise is tailored to you and your level of experience/fitness.
Should you perform general or isolated
pelvic floor exercises?
This is quite an interesting topic, and there have been many debates in the professional world around the role and benefits of isolated strength work for the pelvic floor. Some feel that walking, moving and general exercise is enough for good pelvic floor function (and we agree that this should be promoted regardless!), however there is some good research available to also suggest that supervised pelvic floor strengthening is beneficial in helping women who suffer from incontinence and can even help to prevent incontinence in pregnant women.
Ideally we want to combine both of these models of exercise! It may be useful to learn how to perform a sustained pelvic floor contraction by itself initially, but once appropriate, we would want to combine that with an activity. The reality is we really want these muscles to learn to work when you need them, like whilst performing activities like lifting or carrying your baby!
For pregnant clients we recommend doing pelvic floor exercises as this can reduce the rate of urge incontinence later in pregnancy as well as after the birth. It is important to get assessed and have a program tailored to you so that you can gain the knowledge and receive the guidance to best help you!
Our team loves helping women, whether they are currently pregnant or have recently given birth, to feel strong and empowered to get back to doing what they enjoy again!