Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles has a long list of benefits, for both the male and female. By dedicating only a few minutes each day to some simple exercises, you will not only create a healthier lifestyle for yourself, but you can enhance your bowel and bladder control as well. For men, these pelvic floor exercises will speed up recovery after a prostate surgery and reduce the risks associated with rectal prolapse. For women, these exercises will lower the risk of a vaginal prolapse as well give the woman an improved recovery after childbirth.
Here are some exercises you can do from home!
The Bridges Exercise:
The first exercise, the Bridge exercise, is primarily used to tone the buttocks but can also be used to promote a stronger pelvic floor. To achieve this exercise to its full potential, you should follow the directions below.
- Lay down on floor.
- Bend knees and place feet about hips-width from each other.
- With contracting the pelvic floor muscles and the buttocks, raise hips off ground until straight line from knees to shoulders is achieved.
- Hold this for 3 to 8 seconds.
- Place hips back on floor by relaxing pelvic floor and buttock muscles.
- Repeat steps 1-5 up to 10 times.
- Rest for a good amount and then repeat steps 1-6 another 2 times.
The Kegel Exercise:
The most well-known, and recommended, is the Kegel exercise. This exercise focuses on tightening and holding the pelvic floor muscles. An easier way to think about this is contracting the muscles which are in charge of controlling urine flow. A Kegel exercise is broken down into the following steps:
- Visualize the muscles which you use to stop urine output while sitting somewhere comfortable.
- Tighten these muscles as much as you can; you should feel the muscles almost lift upwards (super important!!).
- Hold this position tight fir about 3 to 5 seconds.
- After the 3 to 5 seconds, relax muscles for another 3 to 5 seconds.
- Repeat steps 1-4 up to 10 times.
- Complete steps 1-5 a total of three times in a day (morning, afternoon, evening).
The Squeeze and Release Exercise:
This exercise is remarkably similar to that of the Kegel exercise and just as simple. The “squeeze and release” is a more rapid motion which helps give your pelvic floor muscles the ability to have a quicker response.
- Once again, visualize your pelvic muscles (a.k.a. the muscles to stop urine flow) while sitting somewhere comfortable.
- While trying to achieve that upwards motion, squeeze the muscles as quickly as you can and release them right away.
- Rest for 3 to 5 seconds.
- Repeat steps 1-3 another 10-25 times.
- Complete steps 1-4 a total of three times in a day (morning, afternoon, evening).
The Squats Exercise:
Squats is an exercise used and known by almost everyone. Like the squats exercise, they are typically used to strengthen and build up the buttocks and legs, but they are also a great tool to work on the pelvic floor muscles as well. By following the steps below, one can perform a squat.
- While keeping feet flat on the floor, place your feet about shoulder width apart while maintaining a standing position.
- Bend your legs at the knees and bring your buttocks towards the floor until the backside of your knee hits around a 90-degree angle. Make sure your knees do not fall over your toes.
- Once you hit the bottom of the squat (90-degree angle), return to a full standing position.
- Repeat steps 1-3 for a total of 10 times.
- Rest fully before repeating steps.
Tip: Creating a narrower stance with your feet as well as squatting shallower (not all the way down to the 90-degrees) will further engage the pelvic floor muscles.
On top of these, there are some everyday exercises, that you can do without setting time aside, to strengthen your pelvic floor as well. Simple tasks such as walking, sitting with your back upright, and standing straight can also strengthen these muscles.
Overall, if you are someone who suffers from weakness or pain in your pelvic floor muscles, these exercises are a great starting point! They are exercises that, while only taking a few minutes to do each day, will positively impact you for the rest of your life!