How to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor in 5 Easy Steps My Baba 2 June, 2016 Health & Fitness, Health and Symptoms, Living, Pregnancy New app Elvie is a smart activity tracker that promises to revolutionise the way women do their pelvic floor exercises. The app launches today, and to celebrate the launch, Elvie has written us this exclusive column on how to go about strengthening your pelvic floor. Your post baby body is beautiful. You’ve created life and done a damn fine job of taking care of this new little thing that’s turned your life upside down. But as the weeks pass it’s natural to start thinking about your pre-baby life and fantasising about skinny jeans and make-up again. Getting your old body back after childbirth needn’t take much time or money and it doesn’t have to be daunting. The key is to find the little things that work and make a big difference. We recommend starting with the smallest muscle, that has the biggest impact. Pelvic floor exercises could well be the answer you’re looking for, and be the first step on your road to a happier you. In case you need more persuasion, here are five important things you need to know: It all starts with your pelvic floor. During pregnancy your abdominal muscles stretch and separate slightly which creates the ‘post-baby pooch’. When trying to reverse this effect many women try starting with crunches but that’s not always the best approach. Strengthening your pelvic floor first will provide a foundation of support to your abdominals and to the rest of your body. The same applies to your back. Your back goes through a tough time during pregnancy and carrying your newborn, but just some small exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor are an easy, and effect way to help build the muscles from the inside. All of these core muscle groups are linked so start with the basics and you’ll have the strongest foundation to work from. Multitasking made easy. With a baby to look after, you probably feel like you don’t have any spare time for ‘exercising’ so you’ll be pleased to know you don’t need much! You can do your pelvic floor exercises whilst waiting for the kettle to boil or watching TV. Love being a woman. Six weeks is usually the recommended waiting period for sex after childbirth but in all honesty, some are ready before then and some after just be sure to listen to your body and do what feels natural for you. When you are ready, you may find a decrease in sensation which can make you less interested in trying. But did you know that it’s your pelvic floor muscles contracting when you orgasm so do a few minutes work each day to strengthen them and you might find it improves your control and increases arousal. Studies show that new mums who did their pelvic floor exercises not only felt like having more sex but enjoyed it more too! Cheat! Exercising these hidden muscles without any help can be difficult (and boring!) The best way to get around this is with a personal trainer like Elvie. Linking to an app on your phone, Elvie demonstrates how to perform these exercises correctly, this is important because nearly 50% of women ‘push’ rather than ‘lift’ which can lead to serious injury. The app gives you real time biofeedback, enables you to set goals and track their progress with your LV score. It’s never too late. It’s a myth that pelvic floor exercises are only for certain groups of women, and a bigger myth that once the damage is done it’s too late to change. Even if you’ve had three kids and have never even considered doing them, today can be the day you start. See below for our quick how-to guide for beginners or visit Elvie for more information. How-to: Step one: Get to know yourself… intimately If you’re hoping to improve your pelvic health, it makes sense that you should get to know your body first. Understanding the basic anatomy of the pelvic region will give you a better idea of what’s going on inside when you squeeze. Step two: Isolate your pelvic floor Your pelvic floor muscles are the ones you use to stop urine mid-flow. Doing this is not in itself an exercise, merely a way to isolate the muscle group. Step three: Find a comfortable position The optimal positions are to lie down on your back, or to stand up straight with your feet shoulder width apart. Step four: Lift, hold, release, repeat Squeeze the muscles that we previously discussed (pulling up NOT pushing down) and hold for a few seconds before releasing. Repeat 5-10 times. Make sure you don’t hold your breath during squeezes. Step five: Take it to the next level As Elvie provides fun, five-minute workouts, you don’t have to worry about timing yourself or counting reps. Instead you can focus on the benefits that you’ll gain; better abs, back and yes, even better sex! For more information visit www.elvie.com or go to f: /helloelvie t: @helloelvie i: /hello.elvie p:/ helloelvie for up to the minute tips and tricks.