Diaphragmatic breathing for strengthening the core and pelvic floor muscles
It’s probably not the hottest topic of conversation, but many women – particularly new mums – struggle with weak core and pelvic floor muscles. And the side effects of a weak core and pelvic floor muscles can be very frustrating when starting out a new fitness regimen.
Weakened core and pelvic floor muscles can also lead to back pain and pressure, specifically of the lower back are exacerbated by poor sleeping and excessive lifting, bending, and squatting motions.
Mums are regularly lifting and bending each and every day, and the loads get heavier as time goes on, so a strengthening up the back’s support system (the core, hips, and pelvic floor muscles) is a must.
Although it is best to speak with your doctor about a which muscles are needing some fine tuning, there are some basic pelvic floor muscles strengthening exercises that can help strengthen not only your pelvic floor region but also the lower back and core.
Before starting the exercises, it is imperative to master proper diaphragmatic (or abdominal) breathing techniques as they are essential for correct form, increased coordination, and to prevent injury. The proper breathing technique will not only help to strengthen the muscles but will also serve as an excellent time for relaxation and mental clarity.
Additional health benefits of diaphragmatic breathing
- Improved circulation
- Increased respiratory fitness
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced anxiety and stress levels
- Improved core and pelvic floor muscle function
How to do it
- Start on your back with a pillow supporting your head and keeping your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Place one hand on your lower rib cage and upper abdomen and the other hand on the lower ribcage.
- Breathing in slow and deep, feel your belly rise to meet your hand – breathing into the abdomen.
- To breathe out properly, exhale and feel the ribcage return to a resting position.
- Once you begin to master the breathing technique you can remove your hands and place them at your side to breathe on your own.
Start by practising this breathing technique for one minute and build up to 3-5 minutes.
As well, once this breathing technique has been mastered, you should begin to add in performing this method in an upright, seated position
Here is a video showing the technique and some of the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing for strengthening the core muscles. (via TheBelleMethod)
This breathing technique is beneficial anyone struggling with a weakened core and pelvic floor muscles, not just mums. However, if you’re a new mum, it is always wise to check with your physician to be you are ready for any and exercises you perform.