For many of us, the word “Kegel” entered our lexicon when Samantha Jones proclaimed she was “doing [them] right now” on Sex and the City. But when it comes to your pelvic floor—the three layers of muscles that lie like a hammock from your pubic bone to your tailbone, supporting the function of your bladder, bowels, and genitals— keeping it in optimal shape goes far beyond the occasional squeeze at a stoplight.
“Just like you can strengthen your biceps, you can do exercises that work on your pelvic floor muscles,” says Alexandra DiGrado, DPT, a pelvic floor physical therapist in Boston. Such therapists work with clients who suffer from incontinence, constipation, pain or muscle malfunction in the pelvic region, as well as postpartum musculoskeletal conditions. Beyond muscle strengthening, therapies include relaxation exercises, manual therapy, heat and cold therapies, diet changes, and electrical stimulation to help muscles contract.
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