If you’re at all tuned in to the celebrity wellness market, you’ve probably heard about some of the more interesting women’s health products out there such as Gwyneth Paltrow’s jade egg, which became infamous after a lawsuit last year. Although the benefits of jade eggs have been debunked, the truth is that working out your Kegels is actually an essential health practice for a healthy pelvic floor.
You can think of the pelvic floor as a type of hammock, which sits at the bottom of the pelvis and supports the uterus, bladder, and other pelvic organs. When we age, the pelvic floor naturally weakens as do most of our other muscles. This can also be exacerbated by pregnancy and childbirth. A weak pelvic floor can lead to a number of issues, the main concern being incontinence. Affecting both men and women, incontinence is involuntary urination, often when laughing, sneezing, exercising, or any other strenuous activity.
Pelvic floor therapy works to counteract incontinence by strengthening the muscles that surround the bladder. However, these muscles aren’t the easiest to identify. There are a couple of methods you can use to make sure you are working out the right muscles. For women, you can imagine that you inserted a tampon but didn’t get it all the way in. Pretend you are using your pelvic muscles to squeeze it up a bit higher. The muscles you’ll activate are actually your pelvic floor!
For some, an easier method to identify the pelvic floor muscles is to do the “stop and go” test. This can work well for men and women. When you’re urinating, simply try to stop the flow for a few seconds and pay attention to which muscles you are using to do this, as these are the muscles you’ll want to be targeting with pelvic floor therapy. It’s important to note that this practice isn’t an exercise in itself, and can actually lead to health complications if done too frequently.
Now that you know how to identify your pelvic floor, take a look at the guide from Rory below to learn about the best pelvic floor exercises, breathing techniques to incorporate in your workout, and how to stick to a healthy pelvic floor diet.