Last month’s blog was about the pelvic floor its functions, and what makes it weak. This month’s newsletter is about the exercises you can do to strengthen the pelvic floor and stop those embarrassing leaks when you laugh, run, sneeze etc.
I read many books and articles whilst researching this topic to find the best and easiest to follow exercises for you, to fit in to your busy lives. I decided that pre and post natal expert Cherry Bakers book “Pregnancy and Fitness” was the best.
I have had the pleasure of meeting Cherry who is well known within the fitness industry for her extensive knowledge of the Pelvic floor, pre and postnatal exercise, stability and back care. More information about Cherry can be found on web site www.cherrybaker.com
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Please bear in mind that the pelvic floor muscles can be exercised every day unlike other muscles, which need ‘rest days’. You don’t need to overdo it – a few minutes, several times a day is sufficient. Don’t feel bad about having days when you don’t do them, but try to stay focused and keep doing them regularly.
Pelvic floor exercise routine
- · Breathe normal and sit or stand upright
- · Without visibly moving, imagine that you are pulling your vagina (middle passage), then urethra (front passage) and then back passage, upwards, and feel the sensation of them lifting towards your belly button.
- · Hold this position and then slowly release.
- · Work towards holding the contraction for 10 seconds, although it may take some time before you can achieve this
- · Repeat this exercise several times a day.
- · Follow the same steps as above, but this time don’t hold the contraction – contract and release the muscles in a fast ‘pumping’ action. Imagine you are switching a light on and off.
- · Repeat this 10 – 15 times.
- · Sit on a chair, toilet or stability ball.
- · Perform the pelvic floor exercises as before, hold for a few seconds and then release slowly.
- · Now place your elbows on your knees and lean forwards. Repeat the same pelvic floor exercise again, but this time notice that you feel the movement more around the front and middle passage, and less around the back passage.
- · By alternating between sitting upright and leaning forwards, you are able to isolate different areas of the pelvic floor.
- · Think of the pubic bone at the front of the pelvis and the coccyx (at the tail of the spine) at the back of the pelvis.
- · Imagine drawing these two parts closer together, hold for 10 seconds then slowly relax the muscles.
- · Focus on the ‘sitting bones’ at the bottom of your pelvis. Think of drawing these two points closer together, again hold for up to 10 seconds and then relax.
- · Now think of the front, back and bottom points all drawing closer together. Feel as if you are pulling these muscles up towards your belly button. Hold for up to 10 seconds and then slowly relax.
- · Lift your pelvic floor upwards as described in the previous exercise.
- · Imagine a lift going up and down – hold your pelvic floor muscles at each level, trying to reach 5 levels.
- · Release your pelvic floor muscles slowly, again stopping at each level on the way down.
Try to avoid:
- · Actively contracting the abdominals
- · Gripping with the muscles of the legs
- · Tensing or clenching your buttocks
- · Holding your breath as you work the pelvic floor
- · Tensing your shoulders (you also need to keep your hands relaxed)