Why it’s important to exercise your pelvic floor

Why it’s important to exercise your pelvic floor

Many women accept incontinence as an inevitable part of childbirth, with 60 per cent of sufferers not seeking appropriate treatments. During World Continence Week, Mater's physiotherapists share some practical information to assist in continence by exercising your pelvic floor.

Why exercise your pelvic floor? The pelvic floor muscles, along with your deep abdominals and spinal muscles, form your core. A strong core plays an integral role in reducing and preventing back pain and injury, and can reduce symptoms of incontinence.

Pregnancy and childbirth can put strain on your pelvic floor, and one in three mothers is at risk of developing urinary incontinence after pregnancy and childbirth. Pelvic floor exercises can help strengthen your pelvic floor to prevent and reduce symptoms. 

To exercise your pelvic floor, start off sitting or standing tall (this already activates your core) and tighten the muscles around your vagina as if you were trying to hold off urinating. You may feel your lower tummy lift. Keep breathing and hold for three or four seconds if you can, then rest and relax the muscles fully. Repeat this up to 10 times in a row and aim for three sets most days. 

Remembering these important exercises day to day can be tricky, so make a plan for when you are going to do your core workout. Next time you’re stopped at a red light, waiting for the kettle to boil or getting ready for bed, take a moment to exercise your pelvic floor. You can even download pelvic floor apps to set reminders to help get the habit started. 

This week is World Continence Week—an initiative of the International Continence Society and Continence Foundation of Australia. Bladder and bowel problems won’t get better on their own and can be treated, managed and, in many cases, cured with the right help. The theme for this year’s week is Improve your bottom line, encouraging people to adopt healthy bladder and bowel habits to prevent and improve incontinence, so they can get their confidence back.

If you have experienced bladder or bowel problems during or post-pregnancy, or would like to assess your core muscle function, Mater Health and Wellness physiotherapists can assist. To book an appointment, please phone 07 3163 6000.

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