This weeks midweek mobility is all about the pelvic floor. Pelvic floor like any muscle will relax with age, just like our eyelids drop, so does our pelvic floor. Add menopause into the mix, and the lower levels of oestrogen make this a tricky muscle to strengthen leading to frequent bladder and bowel movements, incontinence, leakage and urgency.
We know we need to be doing our pelvic floor strengthening exercises but are you? My guess is –
 – sometimes
 – when I remember
 – yes but I’m not sure if they are right
Sound familiar?
The pelvic floor is a collection of muscles in its own right, and therefore the national guidance around pelvic floor strengthening is that we should try and isolate those muscles to really get the most benefit.  I completely agree with that, when we build strength in any muscle we need to be able to isolate, engage and relax. Therefore the guidelines of 10 x long squeezes and 10 pulses – 3 times a day is valid and effective.
BUT… My feeling is that in many cases something is better than nothing. If you are doing the exercises inconsistently and not noticing much improvement it may help you to find ways and reminders to help you to increase your repertoire.  Adding them into your exercise routine – core work, strength training are ideal – can be a great way to help you to remember.
Also, no muscles really act in isolation, internal and external factors play a part on pelvic floor strength, and frankly a pelvic floor that is really strong ONLY when you are lying on the floor is no use to anyone.
My hope is that by Incorporating a bit of movement we
 – increase and vary the strength work meaning it is more top of mind and you’re more likely to remember
 – develop a pelvic floor that is functional to support you when you move, run, jump, cough etc.
75% of women suffer from issues related to pelvic floor strength – and those are the ones brave enough to admit it! If you need any further guidance I have a great download available here  which will walk you through some steps to strengthen your pelvic floor for life.
If you are struggling through menopause, why not join our Mind Body Meno community here for support and advice from women in the know.