Our pelvic floor muscles are an integral part of our core, however they are often overlooked during exercise. When focusing on our abdominal muscles, we can often place unnecessary strain onto our pelvic floor muscles and weaken it as a result.
In this blog, former British rower turned health and fitness coach, Baz Moffat, shares her expertise on protecting your pelvic floor whilst strengthening your core.
I can’t remember ever being told to hold my tummy in, but the message got through some how and I like all women am a tummy tucker, who chronically holds her tummy in. That was until I found out this was not helping my pelvic floor.
If this sounds like you then read on...
I have two toddlers with terrific tummies. I also know plenty of ballerinas who prance around in their leotards proud as punch of their beautiful bodies at age five, six and seven. Unfortunately, most women don’t share in this body confidence. So many women have been told from a young age to hold their tummies in, stand up tall, push their chests out and wear ‘Spanx’! – and it comes as quite a surprise to most that this could be the root of their pelvic floor issues.
So here are three reasons why this constant tummy flattening is not great for your pelvic floor, body or you:
- Tummy holding increases pressure in your core and therefore the work that your pelvic floor must do to hold your bladder, bowel and uterus up. The pelvic floor has got a tough enough job as it is, without increasing its workload.
- You can’t breath properly – the diaphragm and pelvic floor are designed to work in beautiful harmony. If we ‘kink’ the system by tummy flattening it’s impossible to take lovely, deep, soft breaths.
- What message does this give to our daughters, god daughters or nieces? They love their bodies. I am very aware of how kids copy everything we do and so the perceptions we have of ourselves, as much as we do our best to hide them, will be picked up by our dear sponges!
Holding your tummy in does not make you a better woman. And honestly you will be much stronger on the inside and out if you let go and train your breath to connect with your pelvic floor and core.
I know this is a lot easier said than done – but just start to bring your breath into your awareness and notice when:
- You’re on the toilet – let your tummy go
- Standing in the kitchen – let your tummy go
- In the car on the school run – let your tummy go
- Standing in a queue – let your tummy go
- When you’re in an exercise class – let your tummy go!
I can guarantee that nobody else will notice at all and your pelvic floor will thank you for it.