With the vast amount of information available today at our fingertips we tend to believe that we know everything about many subjects and particularly about the health domain. In this article we are interested in the subject of physical exercise performed with the intention of being fit and avoiding the typical diseases of sedentarism.
Many women and men are obsessively devoted to physical exercise practiced at home, outdoors or in gyms; of course, physical exercise is a fundamental component in a person’s health, the problem arises when there is no broad knowledge of the pros and cons of poorly executed exercise practices.
We feel worried about not being aesthetically pleasing and slim; we compulsively engage in activities that can cause serious injury to our spine, knees, feet and joints in general.
We lift weights indiscriminately, leading to postural alterations that especially in women tend to de-structure the pelvic region.This imbalance, by muscular action, causes the modification of the pressure vector in the abdominal region, that is to say, the postural statics are modified which means that the physiological curve of the spine is lost (lumbar lordosis), causing that the resulting force vectors to the internal pressure surges are directed towards the anterior perineum (weak zone) instead of the posterior perineum (pelvic floor). This often aggravates an often already existing fragility of the pelvic floor muscles, generating a series of harmful effects that, instead of strengthening, further weaken it.
In the remainder of this brief article, we will focus exclusively on women’s pelvic health.
More and more young women are suffering from weak pelvic floor, urinary incontinence or lower back pain; the issue is complex and requires dedication and effort to resolve.
On the one hand, it is necessary to learn how to execute routines of hypopressive abdominal exercises that decrease the intra-abdominal pressure, contrary to the hyperpressive work in which the pressure in the abdominal and pelvic cavity is increased with a direct impact on the pelvic floor.
Secondly, there are the very important Kegel exercises that seek to contract the pubococcygeal muscle and serve to strengthen the pelvic muscles, as well as diminishing urinary incontinence, facilitate labor and achieve greater pleasure during sexual intercourse.
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Besides the aforementioned exercises, it is necessary to practice postural techniques that allow us to maintain an adequate posture in daily life activities when we are sitting, standing, walking, picking up weights, sneezing or coughing. The idea is that by constantly practicing a correct posture in our daily life activities we get to internalize them until a reprogramming occurs and we do it in an unconscious way.
Last but not least, in an exercise program to strengthen the pelvic floor, breathing correctly should be prioritized because the diaphragm is a muscle that increases intra-abdominal pressure. Learning and applying diaphragmatic breathing as opposed to thoracic breathing is very important since the latter does not ensure the correct performance of the diaphragm’s movement and injuries may occur due to the non-activation of the core which is the area that encompasses the entire abdominal region and lower back consisting of the oblique muscles, the rectus abdominis, the pelvic floor, the diaphragm, the multifidus and the most important muscle among all: the transverse abdominal muscle.
Diaphragmatic breathing needs to be done unconsciously in order to integrate it into our being.
More and more young women are suffering from weak pelvic floor, urinary incontinence, lower back pain, etc. and we ought to have some implements to make all these pelvic floor strengthening tasks easier to carry out.
Finally, let’s remember the 4 crucial points on which we must focus our attention:
1. Hypopressive Abdominal Exercises
2. Kegel exercises
3. Correct posture
4. Diaphragmatic Breathing
Let’s hope hope we’ ve done our bit for the conundrum that means keeping our pelvic floor strong and healthy.
This post is also available in: Español