WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Pelvic Floor

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  After seven years of “Workout of the Week,” we thought we’d tried it all and worked every muscle group. It turns out we were wrong.

“We just can’t see the pelvic floor muscles because it’s all inside, so we have a really hard time understanding what’s going on,” said Physical Therapist Libby Trausch.

She specializes in helping people understand what the pelvic floor is and how it can impact their lives. The pelvic floor muscles stretch from the tailbone to the pubic bone, and from side to side. They support the bladder, bowel, and uterus.

Biofeedback is one way to strengthen the muscles.

“It’s a really cool way to see it and hear it and connect that with how it feels,” says Dr. Trausch. She calls biofeedback a really cool tool because it helps patients learn how to use muscle they can’t see.

Here’s the catch.

“People are apprehensive because it involves putting sensors around the anus.”

This is one way physical therapists can monitor what a patient is doing and what kind of progress they’re making.

“So people can see on the computer what’s going on with the pelvic floor muscles.”

Everything from high impact exercise and heavy lifting to pregnancy and obesity can weaken the pelvic floor, which means a lot of people can be affected. Learning how to strengthen the pelvic floor is no simple task.

“It’s the elusive ‘lower abs’--it’s challenging to find them!” says Dr. Trausch. "It’s being able to pull the belly button in, without sucking it in, doing a kegel and breathing…it’s a lot to figure out.”

Dr. Trausch is passionate about helping people figure out the exercises. She’ll be teaching a class during “Workout of the Weekend” next month. You can find more information on the One Brain Wellness Facebook page and connect with Dr. Trausch through her website breathedsm.com.