The pelvic floor – scary and mystical? Or an integral part of your healthy functioning body?

If you’re anything like I used to be – you’ll be thinking of the pelvic floor as a THING. A weird, scary THING that appears to operate to its own dastardly devices, separately from the rest of your body, and to avoid obeying all the rules that the rest of the muscles in your body appear to obey. Like…. when you train, them, they get stronger, and they work better. Like….. when you really really clench them – they hold tighter and stop movement.

And many women’s experience of pelvic floor muscle work is really not like this……. the sneeze pee! How embarrassing, how jolly inco
nvenient – and bracing the muscles and doing your pelvic floor exercises – it doesn’t always seem to help! yikes. It can be sort of scary, and it can be mystifying. Where do I go now, what shall I do?

So, lets try and de-mystify a little bit. Your pelvic floor is a group of muscles and fascial tissue that sits at the base of your torso. I find it helpful (nowadays!) to think of them as a system, rather than a structure. Your pelvic floor system does NOT operate separately from the rest of your body – quite the opposite. The muscles of the pelvic floor don’t only attach to the pelvis itself, but also to your hip bones, and to your sacrum, a small – but important – triangular shaped bone at the bottom of your spine. The pelvis, sacrum and hip bones (femurs) all move in relation to each other – and so there are a host of muscles all around this area, from your waist to your bum to your thighs that are super important for affecting your ability not to pee when you sneeze, or hold in a pee (or a bit of air!) until you should choose to no longer hold it in!

lady-on-ball-at-beach

So we need to affect the health of all these muscles, to affect the usefulness of your pelvic floor.

The first thing that you can do is to move these muscles. It sounds so simple, and yet in the course of our daily lives, we tend to use the same bit of muscle over and over, and neglect the rest of the bits. These neglected parts of muscles hold the answer to your issues.

Muscles love to move – muscles HAVE to move, to stay supple and stretchy and therefore useful and strong.

So, here is 2 exercises for your pelvic floor which you can have a go at: They’re great cos they’re simple and do-able but they are targeting parts of your body which tend to be a wee bit neglected in the routine of our everyday movement.

Coming up next in the pelvic CORE chat: alignment talk, and the effect of our daily lives on pelvic health in the next post!
Exercise no.1 – this is a link to a youtube video with the Katy B of Nutritious Movement herself. Its a good one, and her commentary talks you through it!

Exercise no. 2

This I call a diamond hip stretch, or a sole of the foot stretch.

If you are very tight around the hips or have any pubic symphsis problems or pain – or pain in the bone a the front between your legs, you can do what I have done in the second picture – stuff a couple of cushions or folded towels under the upper part or your thighs. Make it nice and comfy so that you can really rest and relax into this position and chill out there for a while.

(photos courtesy of my seven year old son standing on the sofa – so sorry if they’re a bit blurry!)

 

bolstered-diamond-hip-stretch

Susanna