How’s the start of the week going? Did you enjoy your weekend and all get to do something that was meaningful and made you feel good?
Have you got some focus this week – are you thinking about your goals or directions? Have you considered you healthy meals and snacks and done some planning? What do you need to shop for that will leave your fridge bursting with vitamins and minerals and make you feel energised.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water – it helps with so much – drink some now...off you go!
Get moving today – a walk, cycle, take time in your lunch break to move. Your body and mind will feel better – you know I’m right team.
Today’s Topic: The Pelvic Floor
We talk a lot during our training sessions about the “Pelvic Floor”. But really what does it mean when we contract and relax those particular muscles and how can it help our body to be more efficient?
What is the pelvic floor?
It consists of layers of muscle and ligaments. These stretch from the pubic bone to the end of the coccyx (which is the end of your spinal column). They also run from side to side.
They are supportive and firm muscles that help support the bladder, womb and the bowel. They also close the bladder outlet and back passage.
Why is the Pelvic Floor so important?
If you’ve ever had children, been to a physiotherapist or indeed done any strength training you’ll be exercising the pelvic floor. If you train the muscles enough they strengthen just like any other muscle in the body. They can give support and they can improve your bladder and bowel control.
How does the Pelvic Floor work?
The muscles of the Pelvic Floor are kept slightly tense to stop leakage or urine from the bladder and wind or faeces from the bowel. So when you pass water or have a bowel movement the pelvic floor muscles will relax. They then tighten to restore the control.
The muscles squeeze when you laugh, cough or sneeze to prevent any leakage. And finally they are important in sexual function.
How do I find the Pelvic Floor muscles?
This is easier said than done. Exercising these muscles should not show at all from the outside of the body. Do not pull your tummy excessively, squeeze the legs together, tighten your buttocks or hold your breath! Do not do these things guys!
Follow these steps:
Sit with your knees apart – imagine you are trying to stop yourself passing wind from the bowel. To achieve this you must squeeze the muscles around the back passage. Try squeezing and lifting that muscle as if you really have wind – you should feel the muscle move but your buttocks and legs should not move at all. You will be aware of the skin around the back passage tightening and being pulled up and away from the chair.
Imagine you’re sitting on the toilet passing urine. Picture yourself trying to stop the stream of urine and this should be using the same group of muscles that you used before. This can be a lot harder.
Now try to tighten the muscles around your back passage, vagina and front passage and lift up inside as if trying to stop passing wind and urine. Same rules apply – don’t recruit your buttocks, legs or hold your breath.
The lower tummy can be very gently drawn in as if pulling away from the zip of tight trousers. This is effort coming from the pelvic floor.
Practising your exercises:
The pelvic floor needs to have stamina:
Sit, stand or lie with your knees slightly apart, slowly tighten and pull up the pelvic floor muscles as hard as you can. Try squeezing and lifting them as long as you can. Rest then for 4 seconds and then repeat the contraction. Build this to 10 slow contractions at a time, holding them for 10 seconds each with rests of 4 seconds in between.
The pelvic floor needs to react quickly to sudden stress from coughing, laughing or exercise because of the pressure these place on the bladder. Practise some quick contractions, drawing in the pelvic floor and holding it for 1 second before relaxing. Work towards a strong muscle tightening with up to 10 quick contractions in succession.
What’s the best routine?
Aim to do a set of slow contractions (exercise 10 followed by a set of quick contractions (exercise 2) 3 – 4 times per day.
It takes time for exercise to make muscles stronger. You are unlikely to notice any improvements for several weeks – so keep going! Regular exercise over 3 months will allow the muscles to gain full strength.
Remember: you can exercise your pelvic floor muscles wherever you are – nobody will know what you are doing!
Fitness Fact of the week
It’s so important to figure out what your priorities are, what your desires are, what resources you have to put towards those. Then be completely honest with yourself – what are you willing to give up and what are you not willing to give up?