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4 Pilates Exercise Tips for Strengthening Your Pelvic Floor

Pilates for the Pelvic Floor
Pilates for the Pelvic Floor
Natalie Garay

While I was working with a client the other day, she shared about her week’s fun adventures (or as it turned out, not so fun adventures).

Her kids had the day off from school, so she decided to load them up and take them to a new trampoline park to keep them entertained for the day. As she watched her kids bounce around with grins from ear to ear, she thought she’d give it a whirl and join in on the fun.

You know where this is going, don’t you? Yep, as soon as she jumped once, that was the end of it for her. She completely wet her pants and had to leave. She was horrified, embarrassed and quite bothered, actually, that her body would do this to her!

She's certainly not alone. Her story brought to mind my own jumping and sneezing catastrophes, plus stories other clients had shared. And you know when someone mentions something to you and then you hear it again three or four more times within a three day span? Well, that’s what happened. Since then, other clients and friends have shared their mishap stories.

This is a big deal!

It’s very common, but it shouldn't be. Worse than that, nobody is talking about it. So, we’re going to, and not only that, we’re going to fix it!

Do you wet your pants during your exercise class? How about when you laugh or sneeze? Maybe you're thinking, “Oh, I’ve had children, it comes with the territory.” No, my friends, there is something we can do about it and we certainly should not grin and bear it. Sneezes be damned!

So, what are we dealing with?

We’re dealing with weakened muscles, basically. Just like any muscle, without continuous movement and strengthening, they, well.. lose strength. By strengthening our pelvic floor muscles, along with muscles surrounding our pelvis, we’ll be less likely to shy away from fun activities, plus live without fear of an accident, and without having to carry extra clothing with us.

What can we do?

Strengthen! The pelvic floor is like a bowl in our pelvis that holds our lower organs, the bladder, intestines and uterus. When the pelvic floor is weak, it cannot support the bladder, which then leads to stress incontinence, or more commonly known as, peeing your pants.

This is something that should be done sooner than later. As we age, if the pelvis continues to weaken, there’s a chance that it could become worse, and result in a prolapsed bladder.

Recommended exercises:

Kegels

We’ve heard about Kegels a million times over, especially those of us who’ve had children- They’re great, they’re important, they can be done anywhere. I’m doing them now as I type this. Keep doing them, my friends, but know that they need help from their other muscle friends.

Squats

Squats? Yes, squats. Although, Kegel exercises are great, we need to look at the whole picture. The pelvis has a lot of responsibility; let’s give it some support by including the outer muscles. Squats will strengthen glute muscles and hamstrings, which are also important here. You can try wall squats, ball squats, or any sort of a lunge squat.

Outer Hip Muscle Exercises

Your glute medius and glute minimus muscles, as small as they are, carry a lot of responsibility. And from what I’ve seen with my clients, they tend to be weak. But not to worry, they can easily be strengthened. Think Jane Fonda leg lift action, like the clam exercise. It packs a good burn, but all for good reason. Support that pelvis!

Core Strengthening

Yes, we’ve heard it a millions times, “Use your core!” It’s so necessary. The lowest and deepest abdominal muscles are huge players in supporting the pelvis. Some great exercises for really getting in there, come from Pilates. For example: Bridging: Lie flat on your back, plant your feet and lift your hips, while using your glutes, hamstrings, and yes, low abdominals, is a great one. Done properly, it can really pack a punch.

To drive this puppy home, let’s spread the word, peeing your pants ain’t cool and we can definitely prevent it!

Here’s to sneezing without fear, ladies,

Hugs & Kegels,
The Pilates Mama