Yesterday we talked about your pelvic floor and all of the important jobs it holds (literally!!) Your pelvic floor is responsible for controlling bladder and bowel function. The muscles of your pelvic floor also help to keep all of your organs inside. These muscles also help with stabilization, working with your diaphragm, and other abdominal muscles.
So what does the way you breath (and your posture) have to do with pelvic floor function?
Believe it or not, it’s A LOT! Typically when you think of your core, you think of your abs…and from there you might be thinking of just those “six pack” muscles.
But your “core” actually includes your diaphragm, all of the abdominal muscles, as well as the muscles that support your spine. And all of these work together with your pelvic floor- although we sometimes tend to think of these as isolated groups of muscles, they all need to work together to function properly.
To do that, it’s important to make sure you are connecting them, and you can do that through your breathing.
????How often do you pay attention to how you breath? Probably not that much…because breathing just happens, right?
Take a few minutes now to focus on your breathing and what parts are moving:
????When you inhale and exhale, is it just your chest that expands and contracts?
????Do you see your belly moving in and out?
For a really good breathe, on an inhale you should feel your ribcage expand, your lungs fill with air, and your diaphragm actually moves down towards your belly. On the exhale, see your belly “deflate”, your ribcage contract and your diaphragm moves back up towards your chest.
Now connecting this to your pelvic floor, first check your posture: Are your shoulders rounded, with your hips sticking out? Do your chest and butt stick out?
Although there isn’t really any “perfect posture”, to allow for better air flow and activation of those deep muscles, try to picture a line running through your body.
Your shoulders are in line under your ears, your ribcage is in line over your pelvis. Try to stand tall, as if someone is pulling up on a string on the top of your head…
????Now this time as you inhale, try to imagine expanding your pelvic floor, filling your vagina and anus with air and letting those muscles relax.
????On the exhale, as you empty the air out of your ribcage and belly, think about lifting up through your vagina and anus, as if you’re trying to pick-up and hold a tissue. It may not feel natural at first, but continue to practice and eventually you won’t really need to think about it.
How will this help if you any issues like those we talked about yesterday??
By connecting your breathing to your core and pelvic floor, you’re helping to strengthen those muscles by focusing on the contraction and relaxation.
➡️Here’s an example: If you are having trouble with leaking urine when you sneeze or cough, or jump/exert yourself during exercise, think about what is involved in that movement…
With a sneeze you might have that big inhale right when the urge to sneeze comes on, and then your sneeze is basically a big exhale.
Once you have been practicing your connection breath, it will feel natural for you to relax your pelvic floor with that big inhale, and then as you sneeze you should automatically lift up, contracting those muscles (controlling your bladder!!).
As you return to exercise, and possibly start increasing your intensity and adding higher impact exercises, you will already have the foundations of proper function in your core and pelvic floor.
Tomorrow’s focus will be more on the core, specifically diastasis recti…so let me know what questions you have!!