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5 Simple Floor Exercises That Can Aid Incontinence By Strengthening Your Pelvic Floor

Let’s be realistic: Leaking urine (even to a small extent) in your clothing can occur to anyone. It’s nothing to feel embarrassed about, but it’s definitely not enjoyable. If dealing with this type of leakage has become a problem in your life, there might be a solution: enhancing the strength of your pelvic floor.

The pelvic floor consists of “a group of skeletal muscles at the bottom of your pelvis that is part of your core and provides support to your organs, urinary and bowel function, sexual and reproductive functions,” states P.volve lead coach Maeve McEwen.

Absorbing shocks, such as coughing, sneezing, or jumping, can exert pressure on your pelvic floor, like how a trampoline reacts when jumped on, clarifies Shannon DeVore, MD, an assistant professor in the obstetrics and gynecology department at the NYU Langone Fertility Center, and a member of the P.volve clinical advisory board. These activities “push the urethra forward, leading to urine leakage.” Your pelvic floor acts as a barrier against this leakage.

The pelvic floor can experience additional strain from pregnancy and childbirth. Menopause can also impose strain, as estrogen, which decreases during menopause, “assists in maintaining the elasticity and hydration in the connective tissue around the pelvic floor,” as per McEwen.

Nevertheless, it’s not only significant life events that impact the pelvic floor. Sami Clarke, a Pilates instructor and founder of the Form workout platform, points out that “just like other muscles we regularly strengthen, your pelvic floor also needs attention.”

“Both an overactive (hypertonic) pelvic floor and a weak (hypotonic) pelvic floor can affect urinary incontinence,” says McEwen. “The muscle system might not be strong enough to manage the pressure exerted on it—particularly during activities like jumping, running, sneezing, or coughing—or the pelvic floor might be excessively tense, creating additional pressure on the bladder.”

One of the most common methods to enhance pelvic floor strength is through kegels, which involve contracting and releasing those muscles. However, McEwen suggests that a comprehensive strengthening routine can encompass much more, because “the pelvic floor does not function independently.” The most effective exercises for pelvic floor strength related to incontinence work in conjunction with your breath and core.

“The pelvic floor is part of your core, meaning it collaborates with your diaphragm, abdominals, and deep back muscles to support your trunk and pelvis,” McEwen explains. Strengthening the pelvic floor to aid you functionally, she adds, involves “finding the right coordination of your breath with a kegel (which is a pelvic floor contraction) and an abdominal contraction.”

Ready to introduce some pelvic floor strengthening exercises to your routine to tackle incontinence? To start, explore this useful guide to identifying and activating your pelvic floor muscles. Then, give these five pelvic floor exercises for incontinence a try to see if they can assist you in staying leak-free throughout the day.

1. Leg squeezes while lying down

Clarke reveals that this is one of her preferred exercises that you can perform daily, requiring less than three minutes.

  1. Recline on your back with your legs stretched out and knees slightly apart.
  2. Gradually tense and lift the pelvic floor muscles as strongly as possible for 10 seconds.
  3. Relax the legs, pause for three seconds, then repeat.
  4. Perform 10 repetitions, slowly and steadily.

2. Toe touches supported by a bolster while in tabletop position

Yoga instructor and TikTokker Tiffany Crociani says this exercise “completely transformed” her pelvic floor.

  1. Lie on your back with legs raised in a tabletop posture and your hips upheld by a bolster.
  2. Bend your knees, touch down one foot’s toe while keeping the other leg elevated.
  3. Switch sides for one to two minutes.
@tiffanycroww This exercise completely improved my pelvic floor. Because, same @tiffanycroww #yoga #corework #backpain #yogaforbackpain #pelvicfloor #yogaforpelvicfloor Ib @stepheintz ♬ Rich Flex Carter Walsh Remix – CarterWalsh

These exercises, recommended by McEwen, are most effective with an exercise ball like the P.volve p.ball. McEwen suggests positioning it “all the way up the thighs so that the ball is touching the base of the pelvic floor.” McEwen recommends focusing on quality over quantity, while aiming for 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise.

3. Raising your glutes

  1. Commence while lying on your back with bent knees.
  2. Inhale through your nostrils, envisioning filling the space around your lower ribcage with air from all directions.
  3. Upon exhaling through puckered lips, squeeze the ball, contract your pelvic floor, engage your abdominal muscles, then push your hips upward to form a bridge utilizing your glutes.
  4. Return to the starting point, then repeat.

4. Adopting the Bear Pose

  1. Start on all fours with an elongated spine and your knees directly below your hips. Curl your toes under.
  2. Inhale through your nostrils, visualizing filling the area around your lower ribcage with air from all sides.
  3. Upon exhaling with puckered lips, squeeze the ball, contract your pelvic floor, engage your abs, then press off the ground to hover your knees over the mat.
  4. Maintain this posture for a few seconds, then repeat.

5. Performing Hip Hinges

  1. Initiate by standing tall with your feet placed slightly wider than hip-width apart.
  2. Inhale through your nostrils as you tilt your hips backward by two to three inches as if preparing to sit on a chair.
  3. While exhaling through pursed lips, squeeze the ball, contract your pelvic floor, engage your abs, then raise your hips to return to a tall standing stance by activating your glutes.
  4. Repeat the motion.

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