October 25, 2007
Pelvic floor fitness is an essential to lifelong physical, sexual and emotional health. Yet this area of the body is often neglected by fitness experts.
Why are the pelvic floor muscles so important, and why should all women do regular exercises to maximise their fitness?
1. Pelvic floor fitness is the best way of beating stress incontinence.
One in three women who have ever had a baby experience stress incontinence at some point in their lives, when ordinary activities such as laughing, sneezing or jumping cause them to lose small amounts of urine. Sometimes the symptoms appear immediately after delivery, but for many women, years pass before they notice they have a problem.
Fortunately, it isn't necessary to wear pads for ever. Over two-thirds of women who try pelvic floor exercises - and do them properly - are cured of their stress incontinence, without the need for drugs or surgery.
2. Pelvic floor fitness improves sexual response.
Pelvic muscles are directly responsible for the amount of sensation a woman feels during intercourse, and for the amount of grip felt by her partner.
Exercise improves muscle tone which means that the muscle is tighter, so is stretched more during intercourse. Strong, firm muscles have more nerve endings, and more nerve endings mean more sensations.
Rhythmic contractions of the these muscles contribute to arousal the ability to achieve orgasm. Many women report they are able to reach orgasm more easily, and that their orgasms are more powerful, after a pelvic exercise program.
3. Pelvic floor fitness contributes to an easier labour and better recovery after childbirth.
Over half of pregnant woman experience stress incontinence, with symptoms commonly persisting for a year after the birth. Even twelve months later, one woman in five still has symptoms that will worsen over the years.
Pelvic strengthening exercises, either before or during early pregnancy, can significantly reduce the risk of stress incontinence later. Research shows that the strength of these muscles at twenty weeks of pregnancy is an excellent indicator of the likelihood of stress incontinence later.
And the best news of all for pregnant women is that an exercise program during pregnancy has been shown to have a positive effect on labour.
4. Pelvic floor fitness is an excellent defence against urge incontinence, common amongst women in their later years.
Urge incontinence is the most common form of incontinence in women over 70, leading to major unwanted changes in lifestyle for many women, and even to nursing home admission.
Urge incontinence is a complex problem, with many contributing factors, but a strong muscles increase the chances of successful treatment if it does occur. So commitment to a program of effective pelvic floor exercises in earlier decades can be a woman's best defence against incontinence in old age.
5. Pelvic floor fitness is a vital factor in total fitness.
The pelvic floor muscles are hidden from view and can be a significant weakness in an otherwise healthy toned body. Many women who pride themselves on high levels of aerobic fitness are shocked to find that this important area of their bodies can let them down in their middle years. Ironically female athletes need to pay particular attention to these muscles as their sporting activities place even more stress on the pelvic floor than day-to-day activities. Yet many fitness trainers neglect this area altogether.
Fortunately women can take control of this area of their body for themselves. Pelvic floor fitness needs personal commitment, and access to quality information. But, given these factors, most women can achieve it through a program of exercise, supported when necessary by the use of well-chosen exercise and strengthening products.
Article Source: 5 Good Reasons Why Every Woman Should Improve Her Pelvic Floor Fitness