You might know what is pelvis in a human body is or maybe not. Why? Because people hardly discuss the importance of a healthy pelvis just as other body parts are discussed. But, it’s imperative to take care of your pelvis just like other body parts. In this article, we’ll talk about the pelvis and pelvic floor, what role it plays in our daily life, and how to strengthen them through exercise.
What is Pelvis and Pelvic Floor?
The pelvis is the area that sits at the lower part of your torso. Just between the abdomen and the legs, the pelvis is home to various organs in the male and female body. In the female body, the pelvis contains organs like the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, vagina, rectum, bladder, and urethra.
In the male body, organs like ductus deferens, seminal vesicles, ejaculatory ducts, and prostate lie within the pelvic cavity.
The pelvis differs in male and female bodies mainly in size as the female pelvis is responsible for carrying the baby, so it’s broader and wider. The pelvis area also provides support for the intestines of our body.
The pelvic floor is basically the muscles present in the base of the pelvis that is responsible for supporting the pelvic organs. There are various functions of pelvic floor muscles in a human body, both male and female. They help one relive the urine, flatus (wind), and feces (poo) through contractions, as well as hold them until convenient.
During pregnancy, these muscles help support the weight of the baby in the womb. The weakening and softening of these muscles during this time is quite common and is the reason why women’s urine leaks during and after the pregnancy.
The pelvic floor also plays a role in sexual functions both in males and females. While in men, these muscles are responsible for erectile function and ejaculation, in women, sexual sensation and arousal are caused when the pelvic floor muscles are squeezed voluntarily. They help you control your bowel and bladder, so keeping pelvic floor muscles strong is essential. If the muscles are weak, then men and women alike face problems.
How To Strengthen Pelvic Floor Muscles Through Exercise
It’s 100% possible to control the strength of the pelvic floor through regular exercise and following a workout routine specially targeted towards that. These exercises teach your muscles to contract and relax properly. At the same time, you’ll feel highly restored, and your breathing will improve after you inculcate these exercises in your daily routine.
Here are some exercises you can do in the comfort of your home
1. Seated Breathing
This is a straightforward but effective breathing exercise that will strengthen your pelvic floor and relax you completely.
First, put one hand on your chest and the other on your belly. Now, you have to take a long, slow inhale through your nose to relax your pelvic floor and fill up the breathing cavity of the diaphragm. Then you have to exhale slowly through your mouth while you bring the pelvic floor upwards as if you are drawing up a jellyfish. Continue for eight to 10 breaths.
2. Runner’s Lunge
An excellent stretching exercise that opens up all the muscles of your legs and stretches your hips and pelvic area perfectly. It’s commonly done in a yoga class.
Plant yourself in a plank position and keep your hands planted on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Now, you’re going to pull your hips in alignment so your spine is in a nice and long position. Keep your abdominals nice and tight. Next, pull one foot forward all the way up so that the heels of your foot come up to the heels of your hand. Make sure that your front knee is directly over the ankle. Now, sink into your hips so that your long legs and hip flexor and you can feel it through your hamstrings. Here, you hold onto this position for some time and feel the stretch properly.
Switch sides and do the same for your other leg. Hold the position for around 20-40 seconds to actually see good results.
3. Side Lunges
This exercise is the best if you want to lengthen the pelvic floor.
Open your legs at a leg’s length, keeping your toes forward. Now, you simply lunge down on one toe. Keep the toes of the open leg forward while lunging down, and put your hand on the ground or the yoga blocks. Now, externally rotate the open leg from deep in the hip socket while your toes point to the ceiling. Keep in this position for around eight breaths, then switch the legs.
4. Pelvic Tilt
The pelvic tilt is a core engagement exercise that works on your deep core intrinsic stabilizers. It’s generally recommended to women post pregnancy to help them restore their abs and build them back up.
Began by lying on your back, your knees bent, and your feet resting on the floor. Now, while inhaling, slowly bend your low back while you tilt your pelvic floor forward. Then while exhaling, tilt your pelvic backward into the floor. Do 20 reps of this exercise, and you can take a break in between.
5. Glute Bridges
Glute bridge exercise is excellent for strengthening the hamstring muscles, the low back, and the glutes. But it also activates the pelvic muscles and opens the chest.
First, lie down with your knees at shoulders width apart, and do a pelvic tilt in order to activate your deep core muscles. Now, squeeze your glutes and press your hips up toward the ceiling, also lifting your butt off the floor. Hold this possible for a couple of seconds. Now, slowly come down with your back straight. Release the pelvic tilt now. Repeat this for at least 12-15 reps.