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Pelvic Floor vs Kegel Exercises

Pelvic floor strengthening tends to be overlooked, and when not overlooked, it's often poorly approached.

Let's clear the air and purposely move away from the idea that to improve our pelvic floor function, we need to isolate the pelvic floor muscles. That’s not how the core system works, that's not how our BODY works!

The pelvic floor muscles are part of a system that includes the diaphragm (at the top), pelvic floor (at the bottom = think hammock), deep abs (on the front and sides), and spinal stabilizers (in the back)

In real life, these muscles work together as a team, never in isolation. Therefore, it’s essential to think beyond the idea that we simply need to contract and release the pelvic floor muscles to improve their function.

Kegel exercises were developed by Arnold Henry Kegel in the late 1940s. It was a huge step forward at the time, because it was the very beginning of pelvic floor rehab after birth. He developed a tool to measure the strength of the pelvic floor muscles' voluntary contractions during "Kegel exercises", aka vagina squeezes. Unfortunately, there wasn't any mention of the length of the pelvic floor or relationship with breathing. He was just evaluating the strength of the pelvic floor muscles. It was a great start, but today, it's proven that a strong pelvic floor isn't automatically a healthy pelvic floor.

The biggest issue is often a lack of pelvic floor knowledge, a lack of muscle coordination, a lack of CONNECTION and awareness. Not merely a lack of ‘strength’. Some women are so committed to strengthening their pelvic floor that they try to squeeze as hard and long as they can. Some hold their breath while squeezing, and some develop a hypertonic pelvic floor... More imbalances develop.

Instead, we need to train the whole core system to function and sync to meet the demands of our activities and daily life. By focusing on every core element and form, breathing techniques can restore and maintain a strong and functional core, able to handle the demands of a fully lived LIFE.

When we take a breath in, the diaphragm descends. Simultaneously, the pelvic floor lowers, and our tummy expands a little bit to receive the abdominal content. The pelvic floor and your deep abdominal muscles are stretched during the inhale, a little bit like a rubber band. They have elasticity, and they will both rise on the exhale to help stabilize the spine and pelvis. Abdominal breathing exercises are core exercises (it's not just breathing!). They enhance the relationship between core elements, they strengthen the core muscles from the inside out to balance and rebuild strong and functional foundations.

Let's thrive for function and maintain harmony in this system.

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