Ok, I’m speaking to women here and we’re talking Kegels.
Whether you’ve had children (big or small) or not, are in super fit shape or not, gravity starts to creep up as we get older and it’s a bitch! Our pelvic floor muscles start to tire fast and we seem to have no control of them whatsoever. You know what I’m talking about. EVERY woman I speak to lately – tells me they are having the exact same problem and want to know what to do to get their freedom back by strengthening these muscles and not end up peeing their pants if they decide to take a quick bounce on the trampoline!
Quick aside – have you started doing some pelvic floor exercises as you’re reading (this always happens when the subject comes up!)…
I was jumping on the trampoline last year with my son and stopped suddenly in terror. I could feel my bladder leak, just a bit a little dribble, but enough to know I had to stop jumping straight away and get to the bathroom fast before I lost control. My son didn’t know what I was going on about as I slinked off to the toilet. OMG, I’m 45 years old and thought this wouldn’t happen until I was well into my 70s and 80s! I realised that I was becoming more conscious of where the toilets were located on my current route just in case I needed one. I gauged how much water I was drinking in case I had a big stretch and couldn’t get to a bathroom. This isn’t how to live. I wanted freedom to be able to do anything any time and not worry about such a crazy idea of peeing my pants.
I had heard of a physio gynecologist, yep this is someone’s job description, and dashed off to see her. I was hoping she would tell me we could pop a few stitches up there to tighten things up and then I’d be on my way. I was so naive and used to the quick fix! Actually this is only what they do in extreme cases, requiring an operation and much more complex recovery and steps. So I had an ultra sound done and when the physio asked me to tighten my pelvic floor muscles I watched as the screen moved in unison with my command as the dots came closer together and stopped moving. Then… they slowly released like the air coming out of a balloon – this is WHILE I was holding them in, oh dear. The physio said my muscles were ok, but that I needed to put in some work, not much, and needed to commit. It was refreshing to know I could get in touch with my pelvic floor again and control would return!!
So what did I do? I was given exercises to do EVERY day and you can do these too. This is where you start.
1. Hold your pelvic floor muscles in for 3 slow seconds and try super hard not to release them for the duration. This takes practice and be sure you’re not holding in your stomach muscles or your butt muscles – just your pelvic floor so you need to concentrate and then you’ll know the feeling when you get it. Let everything else relax. You will be terrible at the start but do 10 of these EVERY DAY and you’ll get better each day.
2. Do the same as above but just do quick holds for a count of 1 and go up to 10. Again, do this just once EVERY DAY. You can even practice when you go to the toilet and try and stop mid-stream. It’s hard. As you improve, this control will improve so it’s a good test.
If you’re like me and need to slot this routine into your day, do it while you brush your teeth in the morning or at night – I try to remember to do this and then I often do 2 sets per day – the more the merrier especially if you want results. BUT you really only need to do this once per day, baby steps, start slow. I started to also incorporate this into my drive when I’m in the car – crank the music and get those pelvic floor muscles contracting to the beat in the music – geez, you may as well make it fun! Imagine the freedom…
Now, for some doing these exercises WILL change your life – you might not even realise your pelvic floor muscles had taken a holiday or done the trampoline jump check – or you might find this works well and you’re ready for the big guns. Why get your pelvic floor muscles just ok? Why not get them in super awesome shape and really get in tune with your body? This is where the Nova Exercise Balls come in…
The big guns that are pretty and super easy to use – you can get them HERE (if you’re in Australia otherwise search online). Start with the lighter ball (the single ball) and just pop it up there starting with a few minutes at a time ie while you’re brushing your teeth or doing your make up. Build up to 10-20 minutes if you can BUT DON’T FORGET TO REMOVE IT BEFORE you leave the house (yes I’m talking for experience and have done this, multiple times which isn’t the end of the world but when they ‘drop’ you’ll certainly remember about them and want to be in a safe environment!). The ball(s) will slip out at the beginning especially as you’re getting started and you’ll see what your time capacity is. Start slow. I guarantee this will get better the more you do it!
Also, be sure to get an anti-bacterial cleaner for these babies so you can keep them shiny clean and clear of any nasties just like anything you put inside your body.
Don’t worry if the kids find these in your drawers, they’re pretty and you can tell them they are hand strengtheners or foot balls… (even the significant other might believe that one!)… ENJOY and start doing those Kegel exercises!