Pilates is an exercise discipline that is effective for injury rehabilitation and prevention. As such, it strengthens your body’s stabilizing and mobilizing muscles during day-to-day activities and sports. An important group of stabilizing muscles in the body is the core. The core is comprised of the diaphragm, paraspinals, abdominals and pelvic floor muscles. Together, the core muscles provide a supportive function for the low back and abdomen, while optimizing posture.
If pelvic floor muscles are not functioning well due to trauma, pregnancy, childbirth, neurological injury, or other causes, it may lead to pain and/or dysfunction. For example, stress incontinence and uterine prolapse are two conditions that can result from childbirth, but that can improve with strengthening the pelvic floor. A Physiotherapist can use Pilates to help you learn how to better engage pelvic floor muscles during movement, so that you can move more efficiently with decreased pain and improved function.
In my experience as a Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor, Pilates is one of the best ways to train better movement patterns, so that the core muscles are engaging properly. For example, pelvic floor muscles should relax on inhalation and contract on exhalation, which can be learned during Pilates exercises. Pilates exercises are performed while coordinating contracting and relaxing of the pelvic floor with various movements. Often Kegels are thought of as the ‘go-to’ exercise to strengthen the pelvic floor. However, research has shown that bird-dog, plank and leg-lifts generate a stronger pelvic floor muscle contraction, when done properly.
To learn if pelvic floor muscle retraining through Pilates can help you, book a Physiotherapy Assessment at Thrive Therapeutics!