Weekly Health Focus #2- Pelvic Floor
This week we’re going to focus on a health topic that isn’t talked about a lot in terms of office health and that’s pelvic floor dysfunction. Over 4 million Australian’s suffer from some sort of bladder leakage irregularity. Before you say it’s not a problem for me, ask yourself how much of the day to I spend sitting with my stabilising muscles switched off?
Bladder leakage is becoming a problem for the young and fit not just the elderly. The adult diaper industry is huge business. There are even special pads made for Crossfitters and gym goers. Lifting weights is often blamed for the problem. But wait a minute, we’re human shouldn’t we be able to lift heavy things without wetting ourselves. One of the major contributors to the problem is society’s attachment to prolonged sitting.
The pelvic floor is not an isolated muscle. It is a complex group of fibres that connect the pelvis, sacrum and coccyx. Its purpose is not in isolation (so why do we do isolating exercises), it is part of the midline stabilisation chain. The entire midline stabilisation chain form the pelvic floor to the diaphragm works like a piston pump to stabilise our body before moving. When sitting for long periods these muscles switch off and atrophy over time, creating weakness and dysfunction.
So how do we address this problem? Move, get up out of your chair and move. Get a standing workstation and stand while you work, with your tailbone tucked down and under to activate the chain. Do functional exercises throughtout your day (not just 1 hour at the gym).
Did we mention that a strong pelvic floor will improve your sex? Do these exercises everyday for the rest of the week to activate and build your awareness of the muscles. Post your experience to comments.
Plank – Lie face down with forearms on the floor and hands clasped. Extend the legs behind the body and rise up on the toes. Keeping the back straight, tighten the core and hold the position for 30-60 seconds (or as long as you can hang). Remember to tuck the tailbone down and under to activate the pelvic floor and flatten out the back.
Bridge – Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Place arms at your side and lift up the spine and hips. Create a straight line from the shoulders to the knees. Only the head, feet, arms, and shoulders should be on the ground. Try to do 10 reps, holding for 10 seconds each time. This time tuck the tailbone up to the sky to activate the pelvic floor and flatten out the back.