Have you ever jumped, coughed, laughed, or sneezed and felt that you've wet yourself a little? You're not alone!
Loss of bladder and wind control are common symptoms of a weak pelvic floor, which could also signify aging. There can be multiple other reasons, including weight gain, hormonal imbalance, childbirth, and pregnancy behind the dysfunction. As women age, menopause and associated problems also destabilize the pelvic muscles leading to incontinence.
Involuntary bladder leakage was once considered taboo. With awareness, people are more open to sharing their experiences and talking about ways to prevent it through exercise, and Pilates is one of the best ways to go about it.
What is the Pelvic Floor?
Pelvic floor muscles help stabilize the pelvis and support the organs present in the lower abdominal cavity, including the uterus and the bladder.
In simpler terms, pelvic muscles are interrelated tendons, muscles, and ligaments that create a supportive base for the pelvic bowl. Pubococcygeus is one of the muscles present at the openings of the anus, vagina, and urethra. The openings tend to leak and are compromised when the pelvic floor muscles are damaged or weakened.
How can Pilates Help in Strengthening the Pelvic Muscles?
Pilates focuses on the back and abdomen's deep muscles and the pelvic floor muscles—also called the powerhouse muscle—facilitating concrete core strength.
Pilates can be an excellent way to strengthen the pelvic floor. It makes use of the pelvic floor muscles for natural support during movements. The muscles are involved in a firm, sustained engagement where the pelvic floor is being pulled in and up as part of various abdominal exercises.
An important aspect to note here is that the degree of engagement should be carefully observed at all times, so you don't overexert the muscles. Exercises like the knee fold require slight muscle activation, whereas more intense exercises require a more intense involvement of the pelvic floor and the abs.
Pilates strengthens the pelvic muscles by instigating both endurance and coordination. It is imperative to note that stabilizing the core of the foundation should be your number one priority, and this is achieved through a controlled range of movement. Research has shown that consistently practicing Pilates can improve abdominal flexibility, balance, strength, and endurance in just eight weeks of training.
'Engage the pelvic floor' is a common cue given during Pilates, but many people are unaware of how to do that. The easiest way to understand the movement is to bring the sit bones together and lift them. Try to draw energy from your pelvic floor base up to the middle of your body to the top of your head. This keeps you aware of the mid-body movement and allows proper focus.
If you think there is a particular Pilates exercise that can help you strengthen your pelvic muscle, there isn’t. Pilates' entire process is how you can collectively target all relevant muscles and build core strength accurately.
Pilates creates the perfect connection between body and mind. It's calming, therapeutic, and useful. Devotees swear by it and consider it to be their ultimate stress reliever!
Pilates is also great for your skin as it reduces rashes, breakouts, fine lines, and stimulates growth for hair. Regular Pilates will bring a noticeable change in your overall posture, productivity, and strength.
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