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If you have suffered from a pelvic floor dysfunction, then a pelvic floor exercise routine, commonly referred to as Kegel exercises, might be what you need to help strengthen these muscles.
The pelvic floor muscles are needed to help support the bowel and bladder organs in men and women, as well as the uterus in women. These muscles stretch from the pubic bone towards the tail bone. There are many reasons why someone may experience dysfunction or loosening of these muscles which can include obesity, increased aged, lifting too much weight, high impact exercises, exerting too much force while on the toilet, chronic coughing, as well as giving birth and pregnancy for women.
Before starting a new pelvic floor exercise routine, always make sure to check with your doctor or physical therapist that this is the right option for you.
If you find yourself not able to go to the gym or to your physical therapist’s office, these 8 exercises and stretches can be done at home or outside.
1. Lying with your knees bent and feet on the floor, lift your knees towards your chest. Place your hands behind both knees and draw them towards your chest while separating them. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat twice.
2. Sit with one leg bent towards your chest and crossed over the opposite leg. Pull your bent knee with your arm towards your opposite shoulder. Keep your back straight. You will feel the stretching behind your thigh and in your buttock. Hold 30 seconds and repeat 30 times. Do this stretch 3-4 times a day, making sure to do both sides.
3. Position yourself as shown, grabbing onto the feet or behind the knees. You should feel a gentle stretch while allowing knees to lower to the floor. Breathe in and allow the pelvic floor muscles to relax. Hold this position
4. Lying on your back with your knees bent, cross the ankle of the leg to be stretched over the opposite knee. Put your arm around the thigh as shown. Bring your thigh towards your stomach. Feel the stretch in your buttock. Hold 30 seconds and repeat 2 times. Make sure to stretch both sides.
5. Lying face down with both hands at shoulder height, straighten your elbows and lift your upper trunk until you feel a stretch in your abdominal area. Keep your pelvis and legs relaxed. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and repeat 3 times.
6. Get into a crawling position. Press your bottom towards your feet, with your head against the floor and arms straight forward. Keep your hands on the floor and breathe in, allowing pelvic floor muscles to stretch. Hold this stretch for 2-3 minutes.
7. Lying on a table or a firm bed as shown, put your hands behind one knee and draw that leg towards your chest. Stretch the opposite leg towards the floor. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 2 times. Stretch both sides!
8. Stand with legs astride and straight. Bend one leg and put your hands on the knee. Bend your leg even more and put weight on the leg. You will feel stretching on the inside of the thigh on the straight leg. Hold for approximately 30 seconds and repeat 2 times. Do this stretch on both legs.
9. Diaphragmatic Breathing: Lie on your back with knees bent and both hands on the upper part of your stomach. Breathe in slowly through your nose and breathe out slowly through your mouth. When breathing in, the hands on your stomach will rise and when breathing out, your hands will go down.
Exercise sketches were provided by Physiotools LTD.