If you’re just joining us for the pelvic floor challenge, I recommend you start with Day 1. Day 1 focuses on building some awareness of your pelvic floor muscles and making sure you know how to relax. One of the big challenges I had with my pelvic floor strength was that I was always engaging the muscles in a medium level of tension. This meant that I was never totally relaxed, and I was never fully engaging the muscles to support my bladder when I jumped, sneezed, laughed, coughed, bounced, etc. Which would lead to the unfortunate and embarrassing experience of peeing myself. So, the first step, is to learn what a relaxed pelvic floor feels like!
Today we have a two part challenge:
Part 1: Make sure you know how to do a kegel
I feel like most people know what a kegel excercise is, but just in case, this is the most common way to get started: the next time you go to the bathroom, try to stop the stream while you’re peeing. If you can do this, you can do a kegel.
Don’t try this when you’re experiencing urgency and really have to go because if your pelvic floor is already weak, you don’t want to make it work too hard (just like if you went to the gym, you wouldn’t start by lifting a 200 pound weight, we want to work our way up to the heavy lifting). You just want to get the feel of squeezing the muscles of your pelvic floor together.
Now that you know how to engage these muscles, you need to get in the habit of using them!
Part 2: Find a way to pair doing a set of 5 kegels with something you’re already doing
One of my favorite writers is Gretchen Rubin. She’s written a couple of wonderful books: The Happiness Project, Happier at Home and Better than Before. In Better than Before, she talks about how you can use proven strategies to make or break your habits. The strategy we’re going to use today is the Strategy of Pairing. This is where you do two things together to help you remember to do one. (Learn more about pairing from Gretchen!)
Today, I want you to think about something you do regularly and pair doing a set of five kegels with it. Maybe you have a commute that makes you stop at a lot of red lights – do 5 kegels every time you stop at a red light. Maybe after you go to the bathroom you wash your hands, do 5 kegels every time you wash your hands. Maybe you check facebook on your phone a hundred times a day, do five kegels every time you open the facebook app on your phone. Be creative and do your kegels!
Be sure to let me know if you have a fun pairing, and if you’ve decided to take my pelvic floor challenge!
Note: I’m not a doctor, I’m just a mom who’s passionate about sneezing without peeing myself! As with any exercise regimen, you should probably consult your doctor before you start! These exercises will help most people strengthen and tone their pelvic floor muscles, but you should always be mindful of your health and consult your doctor about your unique situation.