Pelvic floor exercises – am I doing them right?


Pelvic floor exercises – we know we need to do them, right? But we forget, or we skip it in favour of eating a biscuit, or we’re not sure HOW to do them so we don’t do them for fear of getting it wrong.

Does this sound familiar? The problem is, we then fall into the inertia where the problem doesn’t go away, but is merely now covered with guilt, fear or embarrassment. Which doesn’t help anyone. Least of all your long-suffering pelvic floor muscles, who just want to support you and need a bit of your care and attention.


It’s very, very simple to find an regular awareness of your pelvic floor. But simple doesn’t mean easy, otherwise we’d all be doing it, wouldn’t we. Even me, a Pilates teacher who is borderline obsessed with spreading awareness of pelvic floor issues, occasionally can’t be bothered to respond to my Squeezy app prompt. But the magic difference I’ve found is that on the whole, in my daily habits, I am pretty much always conscious of how my posture, lifting, movement and breathing is influencing my floor foundations.


Pelvic floor exercises are not ‘something else to do’ – like breathing exercises, it’s more supercharging something you are already doing, building the awareness into your every day habits. THAT is what will make the overall difference to your pelvic floor health.

HOW TO DO YOUR PELVIC FLOORS


Sit or stand up tall, or lie down – lengthen your spine and just have a sense of balancing your ribcage above your hips. Take a few deep wide slow breaths to set an intention to focus on your body.


Breathe in, and soften your belly, as if allowing it to inflate like a balloon. Notice a sense of softness in your pelvis.


Breathe out and draw into your back passage as if you’re trying to stop breaking wind. Travel that engagement forward and up, towards your pubic bone. Make sure you’re not bracing your thighs, buttocks, jaw or shoulders. Imagine like a dimmer switch turning up the brightness gradually. Hold that engagement for the full length of your out breath.


Breathe in, and release it fully.


Try to coordinate a pelvic floor awareness into your daily physical movement: e.g. each time you lift your baby, or lift your toddler out of the bath, or push your buggy up onto a pavement, consciously do it on an out breath, lifting your pelvic floor to support your effort.

Myra Robson, the women’s health physio behind the NHS-endorsed pelvic floor app Squeezy and cofounder of Pelvic Roar, gave me a few more pointers to share with you lovely lot. Enjoy!

DO:

  1. Find something that prompts you to do your exercises three times a day – set a reminder on your phone, put a post-it note on the fridge, follow Gussie Grips on social media or download Squeezy app.

  2. See a pelvic health physiotherapist if you are unsure about the exercises or have any symptoms such as incontinence – there is a directory at www.squeezyapp.com/directory/

  3. Relax your muscles fully after each squeeze

  4. Avoid constipation! When you’re on the loo, place your feet on a toddler step to create a better angle for your pelvis for your poo. This also avoids pressure on your floor from straining.

DON’T

  1. Don’t hold your breath when lifting or carrying

  2. Don’t try and multi-task your exercises, often we’re told to ‘do them while waiting at traffic lights’ etc, …. but you really need to give them focus and concentration (at least initially) so give them your full attention

  3. Don’t try and do huge numbers of squeezes – ten slow and ten fast, three times a day, is perfect for most people

How easy do you find it to incorporate pelvic floor awareness into your day to day? I’d love to hear…


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