Posture and Your Pelvic Floor – Why It Matters
[Written by Website Blog Content Writer - Michelle Silcox]
So many women suffer with pelvic floor dysfunction at some point in their lives, caused by childbirth, injury, and other factors, and we know that an effective and consistent routine of Kegel exercises can help repair damage to our pelvic floor.
But what can we do to protect the strength of those super-powered muscles that do so much, yet get so overlooked?
Good posture is important to your overall health, and comes with a wide range of health benefits, including reduced back pain and good balance. We know that, right? Having good posture is important to your overall health, helping us with proper alignment of joints and bones, which prevents abnormal wear and tear, muscle fatigue and stress on the spine, hips, neck etc. You get the picture.
Remember your teachers telling you to ‘sit up straight’ and ‘don’t slouch’? I can hear my teachers now. And my parents too, for that matter. But do you think they knew that posture is really important for pelvic floor health too? I bet they didn’t…
Can Your Posture Affect Your Pelvic Floor?
Yes, it can! Poor posture can adversely affect your pelvic floor muscle function. Long hours spent sitting in meetings, in the office, on public transport, or driving, each day, and then at home helping the kids with their homework, or slumped on the couch, or bent over a hob or ironing board, or working at the kitchen table…does this sound like you?
The posture that you assume during every activity during your day can directly affect the muscular function of your pelvic floor.
Have a think about your posture when you are standing, or sitting. The slumped body position makes your head jut forwards, rounds your shoulders, makes your lower back flat and pushes your hips and abdomen forwards, which places prolonged and excessive pressure on internal organs and pelvic floor, potentially leading to pelvic floor dysfunction.
Correct Posture for Pelvic Floor
With all this mind, what can we do to prevent pelvic floor dysfunction, or help improve any damage that may already have occurred? Well, luckily, along with doing you Kegels regularly, and using our Kegel Weights to make your workout even better, altering your posture can help get things back in order as soon as possible.
When we sit with good posture, we place pressure on our sitting bones, which strengthens your core and pelvic floor muscles, allowing for deep breathing, which helps to align your muscles and spinal cord.
Conversely, bad posture, where you sit hunched or leaning over, tilts your pelvis and puts downward pressure on the pelvic muscles, shortening the pelvic and abdominal muscles.
It is unavoidable for humans to sit, though, healthcare experts say you should sit for no more than 30 minutes at a time without getting up for five minutes to move around, and where it is necessary to sit, it is important to bear in mind these tips for good posture to help prevent damaging your pelvic floor muscles.
When you are sitting, pay attention! Check yourself regularly to make sure you haven’t fallen back into old habits, and keep in mind the following tips:
- Choose a seat that allows for good posture. Your knees should be level with your hips, or lower; Maybe even try using a Stability Ball.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor, with your ankles in front of you, and in line with your knees. Avoid turning your knees in or out;
- Try not to be tense, and keep your neck and shoulders relaxed;
- Use a lower back support or cushion if you feel it helps, or choose a chair with lumbar support;
- Avoid crossing your legs, either at the knees or ankles;
- Don’t sit for too long without a break.
Standing posture is important too. When we stand, women often suck in their tummies to make them look thinner. Be honest, you do it too, don’t you? I know I do! When you suck in your tummy, it causes more shallow breathing, stopping the diaphragm from using its full range of motion.
If the diaphragm isn’t moving properly, then your pelvic floor muscles are also not moving effectively and getting no exercise. And what about the position that my parents hated so much… the hip tilt, with one leg sort of turned out to the side? Typical teenager pose. This position causes a pelvis tilt which again prevents the pelvis muscles from accessing the full range of motion and can contribute to bad posture and pelvic floor dysfunction.
The same as with sitting, keep a check on your standing position! Keep a mental check of how to stand, consisting of the following:
- Keep your weight balance, both from side to side and also from front to back. Keep your weight mostly on the balls of your feet, not your heels;
- Don’t lock your knees, and keep your feet between hip and shoulder width apart;
- Don’t jut your hip out to the side, keeping most of your weight on one foot;
- Avoid letting your shoulders roll forward too much so you’re hunched over;
- Try not to be continually tense, keep your shoulders and neck looking relaxed;
- Pay attention to your head, don’t crane forward or tilt, keep your earlobes aligned with your shoulders.
So, listen to your teachers. They might have taught you algebra which you probably have never used but they were right about one thing - straighten up!
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