No one likes talking about them and it affects one in 4 of us so let's get to grips of how we can improve our pelvic floor and how incorporating a few little movements in to our day could have a huge impact on our lives.
I have had a number of conversations in recent weeks concerning the Pelvic Floor. What is it? Does it matter? The core is the powerhouse, or the band of muscles that circle the body. Imagine your body is a powerhouse: the diaphragm is the roof; the abdominals the front; back, hip and glutes the back side; and the pelvic floor is the foundation. Any realtor will tell you – if there are issues with the foundation of a home, they must be repaired. The same goes for your pelvic floor.
This is where Kegel exercises come into play they are vital for maintaining pelvic floor strength and control. For Kegel exercises to be most effective, first you need to know how to find and feel your pelvic floor muscles working correctly. Then when you are confident in your ability to exercise the correct muscles using the right technique, you are ready to start a regular pelvic floor workout.
How To Find Your Pelvic Floor Muscles
Your pelvic floor muscles are positioned in and around the area where you sit. They run like a hammock between the pubic bone at the front to the tailbone at the back, and from side to side between the sit bones. They are a little like a trampoline of support for your pelvic organs; including the bladder, uterus and vagina, and rectum. The pelvic floor muscles encircle the three pelvic openings (urethra or urine tube, vagina and anus) and are inside your body so they can’t be viewed from outside. This can make Kegel exercises challenging especially for women who have difficulty feeling their pelvic floor muscles working.
How To Feel Your Pelvic Floor Muscles For Effective Kegel Exercises
When you activate your pelvic floor muscles correctly it feels like a squeeze and inwards lift in and around the urethra (urine tube). Some women feel a definite squeeze and lift while others feel just a slight flicker, especially with weak pelvic floor muscles.
There are some excellent techniques women can use to help find and feel their pelvic floor muscles working correctly. Anyone of the following techniques may help you feel your pelvic floor muscles working correctly:
Next time you empty your bladder see if you can stop or slow the flow using a squeeze and inwards lift of your pelvic openings. If you can’t alter the flow this is a sign that your pelvic floor muscles aren’t working as they should. This technique is simply a test that may be performed occasionally, no more than once a week and never if you have problems emptying your bladder.
Imagine you need to avoid passing gas in a public place; contract and draw up the muscles in and around your anus.
Lie on your side with your knees bent, and place a finger on your perineum . You should feel your perineum lift inwards away from your finger with correct technique.
How To Contract Your Pelvic Floor Muscles Step-By-Step
Step 1- Position
Position your body where you best feel your pelvic floor muscles contracting; either lying down, kneeling and resting on your forearms, sitting or standing. When starting out pelvic floor exercises are often easier lying on your side, back or stomach or kneeling.
Step 2- Posture
Try to maintain the normal inward curve in your low spine. If you are sitting or standing, keep your body tall.
Step 3- Lift, Squeeze, And Breathe
Activate your pelvic floor muscles with a lift and squeeze action remembering to and breathe normally throughout. Try to keep lifting and squeezing your pelvic floor for up to 10 seconds at a time.
Step 4- Relax
Completely relax your pelvic floor muscles back to their normal resting position and allow them adequate time to rest and recover before attempting your next exercise.
Workout Guidelines For A Stronger Pelvic Floor
When you can feel your pelvic floor muscles and contract them correctly you are ready to start your regular daily pelvic floor workout. Everyone is different in terms of how much exercise they can do when starting out – commence with what you can comfortably do, even if it is just a few short contractions in a row throughout the day and gradually build up your exercises over time.
Daily Kegel exercise workout guidelines:
Contract your pelvic floor muscles for 3-10 seconds at a time;
Repeat these contractions for up to 8-12 repetitions in a row for one full set of exercises;
Perform 3 sets of exercises throughout the day i.e. approximately 20-30 exercises in total;
Aim to do your kegel exercises every day; and
Try to make your kegel progressively stronger as your strength improves.
If your pelvic floor muscles are weak, it can take 5-6 months of regular exercises to strength and control. Some women notice improvements even after a couple of weeks. And the best part? Age is no barrier to better pelvic floor fitness. Pelvic floor muscles have the capacity to strengthen and recover regardless of the stage of life.
I never really enjoyed exercise - or sport for that matter - but Olivia has got me to finally enjoy working out. I am now even incorporating workouts at home, something that I would have never thought of doing before! Olivia provides constant encouragement both inside and outside of our sessions.
Olivia is just wonderful, she has the perfect balance between drive and motivation, and I really enjoy working out with her.
Thank you Xtra-Fit!!
I started Personal Training sessions with Olivia about a year ago and have seen a really dramatic improvement in my fitness; I have literally gone from strength to strength!
Olivia is very easy to get on with and very knowledgeable about health and fitness. Despite my defeatist attitude, she is patient, encouraging and pushes me well beyond what I think are my limits.
I enjoy being able to exercise outdoors and I even did a session in the snow; something I would never previously have contemplated. Every week is well-planned and varied in terms of focus and the equipment used. It is always hard work but hugely satisfying.
I started with Xtrafit in a bid to get stronger and more confident in the gym. I have had sessions with both Olivia and Katie; both are professional and passionate in their work. I leave the session feeling motivated and have started to enjoy exercising again.
I am currently training with Olivia; her sessions are challenging but fun. She pushes me out of my comfort zone to get the best results. I feel stronger and fitter than ever. The sessions are tailored to my goals. With Olivia’s expert knowledge: she has supported and motivated me to reach my fitness goals and start new ones. I look forward our sessions and leave feeling energised. As a nurse, I have a irregular shift pattern which Olivia happily accommodates for. I have no hesitation in recommending Xtrafit if you are looking for a personal trainer.
I started looking for a Personal Trainer a year ago, I was bored with the exercise regime I was doing and I was lacking motivation and direction.
From the start Olivia at Xtra-fit has been a great source of knowledge & motivation, and every session is varied, fun & challenging. Olivia is hugely passionate about being a PT and this comes across with every session.
She not only devises a bespoke regime to fit your needs & goals, but advises and monitors your diet and nutritional requirements. Olivia has a holistic approach which ensures I stay motivated & push myself whether I’m training with her or on my own to get the best results.
I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so patient, motivating me and inspiring me to prove that it was possible for me summit 3 volcanoes in a week - but not without the help of your amazing targeted fitness plan that helped me with all those inclines and super long days.
I cant wait for our next fitness chapter together so that I can work on my beach bod for the Mexico trip. If like me peeps you need that push, that motivation, that dedicated tailor made fitness training to reach those specific goals - do it!! You only live once... make the most of your visit and look your best!
Marie Curie Cancer Care were also very happy with the combined £165,000 that was raised across the 37 participants on the Costa Rica Volcano Challenge to help provide terminal care for people in their homes or at the hospice to allow them to spend quality time with their loved ones at the end of their lives.
I stumbled across Olivia’s big signed truck parked outside my home one day and decided to get in touch for some PT sessions to help me get fit whilst I was recovering from a shoulder injury. After an initial assessment, Olivia and I discussed my goals and identified areas that needed the most work. She tailored some challenging training sessions, made them fun and really tried to push me when I felt I couldn’t do another rep. Her approach is professional and detailed, and I look forward to booking more sessions with Xtra-fit in the future.