Strengthening our pelvic floor muscles is the key to improving and hopefully stop incontinence issues.
Why on earth do we want to talk about incontinence when CFO is about reduction of feminine odor, you may ask?
Well, there is a strong link between incontinence and feminine odor because women who leak small amounts of urine when they do simple acts like laughing, coughing or even running often suffer from the annoying odor of ammonia/urine smell lingering in their underwear.
Not only can it be annoying and embarrassing, it can often lead to infections down there because the wet underwear creates a warm and humid environment that is conducive for bacteria growth, leading to more odors!
This downward spiral of events can be prevented when women have strong pelvic floor muscles.
Here are the top 3 exercises to combat incontinence that all women can incorporate into their routine.
It is one of the most popular exercises available to help strengthen pelvic floor muscles. How does one identify where to squeeze?
One way to identify the relevant pelvic muscles is the clench muscles mid stream urine to stop the urine flow.
Try not to do this often, and stopping urine mid flow should only be used sparingly to identify the relevant muscles.
Most experts recommend practicing kegels with an empty bladder as frequent holding in of urine can sometimes cause urinary tract infections.
Another way you can try to isolate the relevant pelvic floor muscle is to get naked and hold a mirror down there to look as you squeeze those muscles. Our perineum (the skin area between our vagina and the anus) should contract when kegels are done correctly.
The most common routine to start kegels exercise is to do 3 sets a day, each time 5 squeezes, lasting for at least 5 seconds each.
Many people recommend doing them before waiting for each meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) as part of routine so that they do not forget to exercise.
When done correctly, deep squats are touted to be one of the most helpful core exercises women can do for themselves.
Other than pulling up those glute muscles to create the firm arse appearance that most women seem to crave, it also strengthens the pelvic floor muscles while toning up the thighs.
Many experts also recommend pregnant women to add squats into their daily exercise routine to facilitate quicker birth process.
It is important to do squats correctly because if done incorrectly, you may end up adding additional stress and causing injuries to your back and knee joints, to just name a few.
Always make sure that your knees does not extend over your toes when you squat.
Most people start by doing wall squats to make sure that they are aligning their back and butts properly.
They usually proceed to deep squats when they become more competent, or find wall squats no longer challenging.
Step 1: Stand your feet slightly wider than your hips, with toes pointing slightly outwards (about 10 to 20 degrees). This helps to create balance.
Step 2: Look forward, some people like to lift their hands in front, parallel to the floor for balance.
Step 3: As you squat downwards (like sitting down on a chair), make sure of the following
- Your knees does not extend beyond your toes ( improper posture – will cause additional stress on your knee caps)
- You do not curl your toes or the soles of your feet (indicates imbalance and results in unnecessary stressors on joints)
Step 4: For starters, stay in position for about 5 seconds before moving back up.
A common routine is to start with sets of 10 squats, 3 times a day.
I have known of postnatal women losing their pregnancy fats and firming up those glute and thigh muscles by doing deep squats alone.
One woman credited her body becoming more fabulous than her pre-pregnancy days and conquering her incontinence issues by doing at least 300 deep squats a day. She said that she would even do it while holding/nursing her baby because she would be doing nothing anyway.
How’s that for a determined mother?
Another popular and incredibly helpful pelvic floor exercise is the bridge.
It is a deceptively simple exercise that involves the person to lie down flat on the floor, and lifting up her butt.
The bridge is a wonderful core exercise that improves the balance on the body while strengthening those important pelvic muscles.
Step 1: Lie flat with knees bent and feet on the floor. Better still, hold a ball or a tissue box between your knees.
Step 2: Slowing lift your butt up and hold in position for at least 3 seconds. You should see a straight diagonal line from your shoulders to the knees, if you look into a mirror on your side.
Step 3: Slowly lower down your butt to the floor.
Rinse and repeat for 10 times per set. As beginners, try to aim for 3 sets if you can.
I like doing this exercise upon waking up in the morning because it is just so convenient.
This way, I can always console myself that I have done exercise for that day if I found myself having no energy to do anything else in the day!
What To Look Out For
By the way, as alluring as Sharon Stone was with crossing her legs in that famous scene in Basic Instinct, try NOT to cross your legs too often because crossing legs causes rotation in one of the pelvic bones.
When one is rotated, your pelvis tend to become unstable.
As the pelvis provides the base of support for the spine, an unstable pelvis can lead to back and neck aches. This also destabilizes the pelvic floor muscles, which are so vital for incontinence prevention and reduction.
All three exercises recommended above are not too difficult to execute and can be performed conveniently in the comfort of your own home, sans equipment.
Try it, and remember to thank me later. 🙂