If you’ve been following me for a while you know that mostly I talk and write about weight loss at menopause. But there are other things that are also important for you at menopause, and here’s one of them:
It’s important to have a strong pelvic floor, and chances are, most of us don’t!
Pelvic Floor Disorder (PFD) or a weak pelvic floor can lead to you doing sneeze pee, laugh pee, cough pee, or jump pee – which is basically incontinence. You accidentally pee yourself a little. It can also cause you to be unable to hold your number two!
Because of this, women have been doing Kegels for years trying to strengthen their pelvic floor.
Signs of a weak pelvic floor include a lack of the curve of the lower back, lack of glute definition (that's right, flat butt syndrome), poor posture while sitting or standing, and tight hip flexors.
It can also be shown through hip pain or tailbone pain and affects both women who have been pregnant and given birth, and women who have never been pregnant. Even men can have PFD!
Been noticing any of these symptoms in yourself? It turns outs that Kegels may not be the exercise of choice.
What Are Kegels Anyway?
Kegels are an exercise that have been promoted as a pelvic muscle strengthener for many years. Kegels can't really be seen when you do them because you are just tightening the muscles inside your vagina as if holding in your pee.
The recommended Kegel exercise consists of tightening these muscles for five seconds and releasing for five seconds, ten times, and then doing it three times per day. For many people, it is very difficult to isolate the right muscles.
Tightening the wrong muscles can lead to harmful effects. In fact, all Kegels will do, even when performed correctly, is tighten, or shorten the pelvic floor muscle. And PFD is due to the inability to relax these muscles, not contract them.
So What Can You Do Instead?
According to Katy Bowman, a bio-mechanical scientist specialising in alignment of the body (who is also a mother and has strengthened her own pelvic floor), the best exercise to strengthen the pelvic floor is the squat.
She says that in order to keep your pelvic floor in line and where it needs to be, you have to strengthen the opposing muscles, which are the glutes (your butt). The squat is the best workout to strengthen your glutes, so she recommends putting this move on your daily to do list.
Squatting is a natural movement that you should be doing daily, but most of us are pretty much sedentary. And squatting can't just be a lazy bend over and pick something up squat but the kind you learn in safety training when they teach you to lift with your legs not your back.
Our luxury life of toilets and the Lay-Z-Boy chair have made us squat a lot less in our lives as opposed to before when we had to squat in the field and use a leaf to clean up!
It is important, however, to do squats correctly in order for them to strengthen and repair your pelvic floor.
Here’s the correct way to do a squat:
Voila! You've just performed the perfect squat.
You can start by holding on to a pole or using a chair to help you.
How Can A Strong Pelvic Floor Help Menopausal Women?
By the way, squats have many more health benefits beyond the pelvic floor, as they improve balance and functional fitness, which allows you to be stronger and perform better in your daily life, especially as you age.
Heard enough ladies? Get squatting!
I have a handout you can grab to add to that squat - some easy to do core strengthening exercises. You can get that here.
I also set aside time each week to chat with you about your goals and whether coaching is the best next step for you. You can book your time here.
And I’d love to know your thoughts, so leave me a comment or email me: email@example.com
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