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Adore Your Pelvic Floor

Adore Your Pelvic Floor

For some of us, we have not heard of our pelvic floor until we have walked into a Pilates studio or until we are having our first child. Once you start in a studio or health club you will start to hear “draw your belly button towards your lower spine”, “zip up your lower abs”, “engage your pelvic floor” and “draw your hip bones towards your belly button”.

These are just a few of some of the cues that we use in Pilates all around the world. As teachers, we see blank faces across the room – some grimacing, some tensing and some smiling or giggling! So, why is focusing on the pelvic floor so important?

A weak pelvic floor: easy ‘peezing’

Up to a third of all women experience a problem with their pelvic floor at some time during their life. The most common problems are leaking due to activity, coughing and sneezing (also known as “peezing”) and pelvic organ prolapse (a feeling like something is coming down the vagina). All the bladder, bowel and sexual functions need good pelvic floor muscles. Effective pelvic floor muscles in pregnancy will reduce the risk of post-natal stress urinary incontinence.

Why should I love my pelvic floor?

  • Good pelvic floor muscles can help with sex by improving the vaginal sensation and your ability to grip.
  • Your pelvic floor muscles are important in posture and with your abdominal muscles and how they support your spine.
  • Pelvic floor muscles should be strong and active just like any other muscles in the body.

Why do problems occur with the pelvic floor muscles?

The pelvic floor muscles lie across the base of your pelvis to help keep the pelvic organs in the right position. The muscles are held in place by ligaments that support the organs, especially when there is an increase in pressure from lifting, carrying, or straining.

The pelvic floor muscles can be weak, overstretched, slow to work, too tight or torn like other muscles in the body. Some of the reasons they can get this way are:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Chronic constipation
  • Heavy and repeated lifting
  • High impact exercise
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Menopause

How do I improve my pelvic floor?

There are a few ways you can improve those pelvic floors. Pilates, especially reformer, is our favourite (of course), but here are the most popular:

  • Pelvic floor muscle exercises (also known as Kegels) should include long-held squeezes as well as short quick squeezes. You should work the muscles until they tire. These exercises can be done at home on the bus/train or even at your desk. No one will know.
  • Mat work pilates classes.
  • Yoga classes.
  • Reformer sessions.

My recommendation for women who are pregnant is to research a Physio who can undertake a pelvic floor assessment – this is a must as they will be able to make recommendations early on as to what exercises you need to do and this will help during and post-pregnancy.

Join Roz Norman in her ‘Adore Your Pelvic Floor’ workshop on Saturday May 19th when she is back for Pilates & Co’s 3rd Birthday! There will be free 30 minute express sessions all morning, with the pelvic floor workshop commencing at 11:30am.

Want to kick-start your fitness goals too? Come and see us at Pilates & Co. We offer a number of membership and class payment options, and if you’re new to our studio you can take advantage of our free orientation class and our 4 for $80 Introduction offer. You could get really serious and join our 6-week Transformation Challenge.

About The Author

Roz & Dave Norman

Roz has been a passionate advocate for healthy living since starting her career as a group fitness instructor at 16. Roz’s fitness journey progressed personally and professionally locally and abroad, before moving into management roles for Goodlife and Managing Director for Snap Fitness Australia. David holds a sport science degree, has owned award-winning fitness studios in the past and founded/co-directs EYE fitness / Synergy Fitness which supplies innovative fitness products and programming across Australia, NZ and Asia. Nowadays, the pair owns and operates Pilates & Co, delivering dynamic Pilates reformer sessions along with functional training classes to help tone, lengthen and strengthen while developing clients’ cardiovascular training and metabolic conditioning // www.pilatesandco.com.au

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