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4 Pelvic Floor Exercises That Treat An Overactive Bladder Effectively

4 Pelvic Floor Exercises That Treat An Overactive Bladder Effectively

We all do exercises to stay in shape and have a healthy heart. But did you know that certain exercises can help control an overactive bladder by strengthening your pelvic floor?

Pelvic floor exercises help strengthen the ligaments, muscles, and the nerves that support your bladder and rectum. By strengthening these muscles, you can gain greater control over your bladder and its functions, reducing your risk of incontinence and even improving your core strength. Pelvic floor exercises are highly recommended, particularly over taking medication.

Before you get started, it’s important to know how to do a kegel exercise. To do Kegels, you need to tighten the muscles used to stop urinating (the pelvic muscles) and then release them. It’s that simple!

Let’s take a look at some specific pelvic floor exercises that you can start today!

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1. Legs Up The Wall

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    Do the following steps to perform this yoga move:

    1. Sit on the floor, facing the wall.
    2. Lie down and put your legs up against the wall.
    3. You should now have your back and head on the floor and your legs against the wall.
    4. Stretch out your arms, placing your hands palm up on the floor.
    5. Close eyes and breathe deeply, relaxing into pose.

    According to yoga teacher and physical therapist Bill Gallagher, the change in gravity puts a little pressure on your diaphragm, allowing you to breathe more deeply and to fully relax the pelvic muscles without any fear of leakage.

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    2. Wall Squats

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      How to do wall squats:

      1. Stand with your back against the wall.
      2. Take a breath, tighten your pelvic floor, and lower to a chair-sitting position.
      3. Keep your back against the wall.
      4. Stay in that position for 10 seconds.
      5. Lift yourself back up and release your muscles.
      6. Repeat 10 times.

      This exercise allows you to strengthen not only  your pelvic muscles so that you can better control your bladder function, it is also the perfect exercise to strengthen your upper legs.

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      3. Pillow Stretch

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        To do this pelvic floor exercise:

        1. Lie on the floor on your back.
        2. Place a pillow or rolled-up towel under you lower back.
        3. Stretch your arms out to your sides or directly above your head.
        4. Breathe deeply and relax your pelvic floor muscles.
        5. Continue for 10 to 15 minutes.

        This exercise relaxes your muscles a bit while still stretching and strengthening. The idea with the pillow stretch is that your pelvic bone is higher than your body. The pillow relieves it of the extra weight.

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        4. Bridge

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          Follow these steps to perform the Bridge exercise:

          1. Lie down on the floor.
          2. Bent your knees and place your feet firmly on the floor, lined up with your hips.
          3. Take a breath, tighten your pelvic floor muscles, and push your hips off the floor.
          4. Stay in this position for 10 seconds.
          5. As you lower your hips, relax your pelvic floor muscles.
          6. Repeat 10 times.

          The bridge exercise gives you the opportunity to isolate your pelvic floor muscles so that you can focus on strengthening that area specifically.

          Note of Caution: Always consult a physician before taking on a new workout regime.

          Featured photo credit: Prevention.com via prevention.com

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          Amber Pariona

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          Published on July 18, 2019

          11 Best Core Strengthening Exercises to Do At Home

          11 Best Core Strengthening Exercises to Do At Home

          No matter where you are in your fitness journey, chances are you wouldn’t mind a little more definition in your midsection.

          Whether you have a six pack or a beer belly, those abs could probably be a little bit sharper. Not to mention developing better core strength is hugely important when it comes to improving your overall strength and athleticism, as well as protecting you from injuries.[1]

          The good news? Your abs and core muscles can handle a lot of training.

          While most of your muscle groups do best with just two training sessions per week,[2] you can hit your abs every other day to great effect. You don’t even have to leave the house!

          Here’s my guide to the 11 best core strengthening exercises you can do at home with no equipment.

          1. Planks

          Let’s start with the mother of all core-strengtheners, the plank.

          Planks not only work your abs and obliques, they challenge those core muscles deep inside your body that help promote stability and power. They can also reduce back pain and improve your balance and posture.

          Get down into pushup position, feet behind you, hands under your shoulders. Lock out your arms and legs, squeeze your core muscles, and hold your body stiff (like a plank!) for as long as you can.

          For a more challenging variation, try a forearm plank with your arms out in front you. Lay your forearms on the ground for support, with your elbows under your face rather than aligned with your shoulders.

          2. Side Planks

          To hit your obliques even harder, try this challenging variation: the side plank.

          From plank position, rotate onto one side. Prop yourself up on your elbow and one foot with your body straight and stiff.

          Don’t forget to squeeze your core as you hold this position for as long as you can.

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          Switch sides and repeat to avoid creating muscle imbalances.

          3. Reverse Crunches

          The regular stomach crunch is a fine exercise, but when it comes to abs and core strength, you’ll want to opt for moves that are a lot more challenging.

          When you can crank out 50 crunches without a problem, it’s probably time for something new.

          The reverse crunch packs a wallop for your lower abs and can be done anywhere, anytime, just like the standard crunch.

          Lay on your back with knees bent in crunch position. Place your hands flat on the ground by your side and lift your pelvis, bringing your knees up toward your face, then back down again.

          Engage your lower ab muscles to do the work, not your back. Repeat for a few sets of 12-20 reps.

          4. Flutter Kicks

          The lower abs are a problem area for a lot of people, so we’ll want to work them hard.

          If that sounds like you, flutter kicks are just what the doctor ordered.

          Lay flat on your back in leg raise position, hands at your sides or pressed into the floor. Raise your legs together about 6 inches off the floor, then alternate lowering one and raising one a few inches in rapid succession.

          It should look like you’re kicking the air, and it should give you quite a burn in your abdominal area.

          5. Arms High Sit-Ups

          Imagine a crunch, but way harder!

          Lay down on the ground in sit-up position, knees bent, feet flat on the floor in front of you.

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          Raise your arms up to the sky and keep them elevated as you perform a few sets of sit-ups.

          Engaging your arms in this way makes the move extraordinarily difficult and taxing. You’ll get a lot more mileage out of this move versus traditional crunches.

          6. L-Sits

          The L-Sit is outrageously difficult to perform well, but if you can build your strength here, the benefits are phenomenal.

          To perform an L-Sit, you’ll need a stable surface to press off of. You can do them on the floor, but it’s a little easier if you can elevate yourself on a pair of dumbbells, two sturdy chairs, or a similar apparatus.

          Sit on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Lock your arms in place at your sides, palms on the ground or surface, and press. Bring your legs into the air, perpendicular to your upper body, using the tension from your locked arms.

          Hold this position as long as possible for an intense strength building workout.

          7. Stomach Vacuums

          And now for something different!

          It’s easy to work your front-facing abdominal muscles, but there is another muscle group in your core that’s frequently overlooked: The transverse abdominis.

          This muscle isn’t visible through your skin, but it’s incredibly important in stabilizing your body, creating good posture, and holding your belly in tight to your spine.

          To strengthen this muscle and get a flatter stomach, try stomach vacuums.[3]

          Standing straight and tall. Exhale all of the air out of your body and simultaneously pull your belly in tight. Imagine sucking your belly button back into your spine.

          You’ll feel the transverse abdominis engage. Hold as long as possible, rest and then repeat.

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          8. Star Planks

          Planks are too effective to not utilize multiple variations of them in your routine.

          The star plank engaged similar muscles to the traditional plank, but is a lot harder to hold for time.

          From the push-up or standard plank position, walk your feet out wide and your hands, as well.

          Your body should form an X position. Elevate your core off the ground, squeeze tight, and hold for as long as possible.

          9. Boat Pose

          Yogis know all about core strength, so if you want a tighter tummy, you should take a page out of their playbook.

          Boat pose is an extremely difficult isometric hold that builds exceptional balance and core power.

          Star in sit-up position. Crunch yourself up toward your knees, then lift your feet off the floor until they’re about level with your face. Balance on your butt, squeeze your core, and hold this position as long as you can.

          Your body should form a V with the only point of contact being your butt on the ground. Holding boat pose should be extraordinarily challenging!

          10. Mountain Climbers

          Ab work alone won’t shred stomach fat. But when you combine abs and cardio, that’s when you’re onto something magical.

          Mountain climbers fit the bill if you’re looking to blast your core and also work up a good sweat.

          Get down into plank position. With your arms locked and your body tight, drive one knee at a time off the floor, up toward your chest, and then back to its original position. Repeat in quick succession.

          It should look like you’re climbing a hill, and it should exhaust you in a matter of seconds!

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          11. Russian Twists

          Finally, let’s give the obliques a little more love.

          Get down into sit-up position and perform a crunch toward your knees. From here, lean back so your torso is at a 45 degree angle to the floor, clasp your hands in front of you, and twist side to side in rapid succession.

          You’ll feel your obliques engage after just a few reps.

          For a more difficult variation, lift your feet off the floor similar to boat pose while perform the move, or perform the twist using a heavy medicine ball for added resistance.

          The Bottom Line

          The biggest piece of the puzzle when it comes to six-pack abs is a low body fat percentage. That’s best accomplished by sticking to a smart diet and building your fully body strength.

          However, if you want to improve your athleticism, overall strength, or even your longevity, you can afford to work your abs a bit more frequently — 3-4 times per week is perfect.

          If you hit them hard enough, you’ll probably see some great improvement in definition as well!

          Cranking out endless crunches is one way to go about core training, but there are so many better and more challenging moves you can try without ever having to leave your living room.

          Give them a shot!

          Featured photo credit: Luis Quintero via unsplash.com

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