30 Oct 5 Exercises that help you Recognize your Pelvic Floor Area
Original Content By Olatz Zeberio, Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy Specialist
Transposed by Shannon Trudeaux
The Pelvic Floor Area
Most of you would probably better recognize the term just as the pelvic floor; however, the pelvic floor area encompasses more structures within your body than just the pelvic floor muscles. Thus, it is important to be able to identify the different pelvic areas in your body.
In this blog entry we want to help explain what exactly is your pelvic floor and how you can learn to recognize each part in your body through 5 easy exercises.
Why is the Pelvic Floor Area Important?
The pelvic floor area is a group of muscles shaped like a dome based in the Core that is used to help facilitate and support certain bodily functions. As we get older, this area can weaken and needs to be exercised like any other group of muscles. But due to its lack of visibility, it can oftentimes go ignored.
What are the Functions of the Pelvic Floor and Core Muscles Surrounding Them?
There are four main functions of the pelvic floor area.
- Support: The pelvic floor area supports and holds the bladder, uterus, and intestine in place within the pelvis.
- Buffer: The pelvic floor area works to lessen the pressure from the abdomen from coughs, sneezes, and the weight of pregnancy.
- Closing: This function works to prevent bladder and anal leakage.
- Opening: This function helps to relax bodily openings to help facilitate entrance and exit to the vagina and anus. This affects not only sex but also the digestive system.
In this image you can see how the pelvic floor reaches both the abdominals and the spinal column while also encircling the rectum, vagina, and urethra.
The pelvic floor area encompasses your core as they work together to help with these main functions. In front your have the pubic bone and the abdominal muscles. Behind you have the spinal column. On top is the diaphragm and at the bottom are the pelvic floor muscles. The Pelvic floor muscles are a web of muscles and tissues that circle around the areas that allows matter to pass through the body, When in its relaxed state, it allows urine to pass from the bladder to the urethra, defecation to pass from the rectum to the anus, and eases childbirth as the baby passes from the uterus and out the vagina.
In order to locate these structures yourself, below are a few quick exercises that can help you in locating each section. The best way to do this is to find a comfortable place where you can be alone, without any interruptions or distractions for the next few minutes.
While standing, follow the steps below.
Exercise 1 of 5: The Posterior Pelvic Area
Place your hands on the back of your spinal column at your waist. Then slide your hands to your hips, cough and feel how your muscles contract.
Exercise 2 of 5: Abdomen
Now place one hand on your stomach right below your ribs and the other on your navel. Cough again and feel how the movement changes the contraction of your muscles.
Exercise 3 of 5: Respiration – Diaphragm
Next, place your hands in what I like to call the singer’s position. This is where you place your hands right under your chest in the center of your ribs. Breath deeply in and out feeling how the muscles stretch to fill the cavity with air, as you breath in, the diaphragm expands while when you release the air your diaphragm compresses.
Exercise 4 of 5: Pelvic Diaphragm/Pelvic Floor Muscles
This is where it gets a little more personal. But this will help you better understand the positioning of your pelvic floor in the pelvic area. You want to place one hand on the vulva. The vulva is the area from the anus to the pubis. The pelvic floor muscles extend horizontally from this area. Cough again and feel how the area your fingers are touching swells.
Exercise 5 of 5: Identifying your Pelvic Floor
For this exercise you will be putting your hand back on the vulva. Once there, use the contraction that you use when you want to stop the flow of urine while using the bathroom. (It is very important not to do this while urinating, and always empty your bladder before practicing these types of exercises.) Those are the pelvic floor muscles. Note how it contracts and relaxes.
There you have it!
The next step is to learn to exercise your pelvic floor. As exercises can be customized to better fit your needs, download our free pelvic floor exercise app and take the test. This test was designed by a team of Pelvic Floor Physiotherapists who also created plans that are personalized to fit your pelvic floor needs.
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