So you're experiencing symptoms. What next? First of all, there is no need to panic! Symptoms are information - feedback from our body about how it's handling life right now. You can take that feedback, play with different strategies, adjust, and move on.
One strategy that can help us is using our breath.
Our diaphragm, which is our breathing muscle, is at the top of our core system making different ways of breathing powerful tools that we want in our toolbox. Our breath can help us engage and release our core and pelvic floor and manage tension and pressure within the body. Our core contains intra-abdominal pressure. Intra-abdominal pressure isn't bad in and of itself but, unmanaged, it can contribute to pressure outwards or downwards. This mismanaged pressure can contribute to core and pelvic floor symptoms.
Many women have a tendency hold their breath or to breathe into their belly. If this is working for you - great! However, if you are bringing these tendencies to exercise or life and currently experiencing symptoms, it's worth trying out and gaining confidence in other ways of doing things.
- Notice your current tendencies. Where do you feel your breath going? Do you hold your breath during activities?
- Place your hands on the sides of your ribs. Take a deep inhale, and attempt to expand them all the way around. This will evenly distribute pressure in your core.
- Before you perform an exercise or a movement, exhale. This will release pressure from your core and bring tension to your muscles. This strategy is calling exhaling on exertion. For example, exhale before you pick up your toddler. Exhale before you lift the heavy box of groceries. Exhale when rising up out of a squat to stand up.
- Notice the feedback your body is giving you. Did you feel more supported? Notice less symptoms? There are no right or wrong ways to breathe and over-thinking it isn't helpful. However, part of laying a strong core and pelvic floor foundation is being aware of your tendencies and expanding the tools in your toolbox. Eventually, these tools will become automatic and you won't have to think so hard! The goal is to be able to move through life as pain and symptom-free as possible while having many strategies available to you if you need them.
Are you frustrated by pain or symptoms and unsure of how to get back to feeling free in your body?
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