STRETCH & REST CARE for the wellness warrior
How To Do A Healthy Hip Check Up
There is one recommendation I share with all my clients.
It doesn't matter if they have a strength or weakness issue.
It doesn't matter if they have an ortho or a neuro issue.
Or whether we are working on improving their pain, posture, or power.
What is it?
It's a hip check up.
Why the hips? Movement begins at the hips.
Your hips don’t lie.
Imbalances in strength and flexibility of your hips will cause issues all throughout your body because everything’s connected to everything through your fascia (connective tissue).
Fascia is the tough connective tissue that spreads throughout your body in a three-dimensional web from head to toe.
It holds everything together from your bones and organs to the nerves, blood vessels and muscles.
There are over 10 fascial lines running superficial to deep throughout your body that connect specific muscles.
Did you know pain in your foot or neck can be coming from a tight hip?
Since your hips are at the center of your body, tightness in your hips will pull on the end of the lines.
Imagine pressing on the center of a spider web. What happens?
The edges get pulled in.
The same thing happens in your body.
Tight spots in the body put tension somewhere on the fascial line resulting in stiffness and/or pain.
If you find and release the tight spots in your fascia instead of focusing on one muscle at a time, you can improve the mobility of the entire line.
Better mobility helps prevent injury, re-balance your nervous system, decrease inflammation/pain and improve your posture no matter your age or how many injuries you've had over the years.
Start in the center of your body.
Find your tender and tight spots in your hips then work your way down the line toward your head and feet to lengthen the fascia to make lasting changes in your posture and flexibility.
Here's a hip spot to target first: Your Gluts!
Grab a ball and do a hip check up to help release your tender and tight spots using the following massage & stretch moves.
HIP MASSAGE MOVES
HIP STRETCH MOVES
Be gentle. Go slow, breathe, and let the tissue let go without forcing it before you massage or stretch deeper.
Let pain be your guide at first as a sign that you need to back off or for how much pressure or stretch to do.
If you find some tender or tight spots on one side, give that side more attention.
If you don't feel tender or tight, then you've got healthy hips. Go You!
It's pretty common to have spots in the gluts when you sit a lot or are very active, especially if you don't have a daily stretch care routine for recovery.
Regardless of what you find, here are 3 more stretch moves that will help you open up and have healthy hips.
To Happy Hips!
P.S. Want more stretch moves & massage tools to release your tight & tender hip (& core) spots? Join us in HIP Camp™.
We do not provide medical advice. You should consult your physician prior to beginning any new exercise program.
How To Go Pro With Your Stretch Moves
Here's a Power Move to make lasting changes to your posture and flexibility:
Traction while you stretch.
It'll help you overcome the compression forces that gravity, aging, sitting and exercise have on your tissue and joints.
Ever feel like you are getting shorter as you age?
It's not just a posture issue. Gravity is literally weighing you down.
Remember everything’s connected to everything from head to toe through your fascia (connective tissue).
When you hold onto a stable object to traction while you stretch, it'll help lengthen your fascia from the inside out to make more space in your tissue (i.e. from the joints to end of the fascia line).
Here are my favorite ways to traction while you stretch:
1. Hold onto a wall, sink, or rail and stretch your upper body and upper back.
2. Put your foot on a wall, edge of sofa or use a band to stretch your hips and low back.
3. Use Pilates equipment to stretch and lengthen while you move through the movements.
This past week, I accidentally found a new powerful way to traction that felt so good.
You've got to try it. Here's a 2 minute overview of what happened.
Test out holding onto different objects to see which one gives you the best release and feeling of lengthening through your body while you do your stretch moves.
You never know. It might just be a tree like me!
In the future, your goal will be to learn to traction & stretch without holding onto or bracing on something.
Pilates or Bands are great ways to help you transition off holding onto or bracing on something to traction while you stretch.
Go hang out!
P.S. Want to learn how to traction while you stretch using the wall and bands? Join us in HIP Camp™.
Camps For A Cause: For every camp sale we donate to organizations that support the health & welfare of animals, wildlife, & marine life. Two of our favs that help rescue & rehab are Beagle Freedom Project & Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
The Rest Tool For Brain Fog
It’s time… to give yourself the gift of rest. I know how foreign rest is to so many of us especially women, caregivers, and health professionals.
We've got a 3 Day Rest Adventure to share with you - it's free so no excuses!
It’s only been 3 years since I started my own rest adventure using the rest tool of Yoga Nidra.
I found it when I was completely worn out from helping my dad through his 3rd cancer surgery in a year while he lived 6 hours away from me.
A podcast during my last commute before I moved him back to my area caught my attention and that led me on a 40 day Yoga Nidra challenge.
One nidra nap and I was hooked.
I'll never forget the way it refreshed and energized my worn-out body (and soul).
I've stuck with it almost daily since then and when I find something that is this powerful for my mind and body I always want to share it with everyone which leads me to taking another certification (i.e. Pilates, Fascial Stretching, Trigger Point Therapy).
Ironically, I found myself doing my Yoga Nidra Daring To Rest™ facilitator training during the first few months of the pandemic.
I was rapidly approaching burnout due to having to coordinate care of my complex neuro patients (and my dad) in an upside down medical system while we all were dealing with the stressors of living through a global pandemic.
Having Yoga Nidra in my rest toolbox kept me from crashing into my typical burnout cycle. I saw the signs and added as much nidra rest when I needed it as best I could to get me through it.
What I love about Yoga Nidra is that it addresses 3 layers of exhaustion- physical, mental/emotional, and soul exhaustion. Most rest tools address physical or only one area but the deep rest of Yoga Nidra using the Daring To Rest™ method addresses all three.
The best part is you don’t have to do anything except lie down and listen to a recorded meditation. You’ll get the rest medicine you need at the time.
For me, the pandemic brought on intense mental/emotional exhaustion I had only felt on that level a few times in my life- after a divorce and the death of my mom. Lots of brain fog. I couldn’t even focus on reading books which I love to do. I definitely didn’t have any creative juices flowing until about the middle of 2021.
As much as I’ve wanted to share what I’d learned in my training with our community, I had to listen to my body. The message until recently was "not yet Mollie, just rest."
Honestly before I knew about this rest tool, I wouldn’t have listened. I would have pushed through to get it out there as I know how much it helps and is needed.
Even though the message I’m getting now is “let’s go” and the brain fog has lifted, the plan is to ease our way into sharing this new rest tool with you.
I’m inviting you on a 3 Day Yoga Nidra Rest Adventure. It’s free and only takes 15 minutes each day.
All you have to do is lie down and listen to a recorded Yoga Nidra meditation at a time that works best for you.
You’ll want to commit to the 3 days in a row to get the most benefit.
JOIN US ON A 3 DAY REST ADVENTURE
PREP WORK: MAKE SPACE FOR REST
Your homework is to tune into your body and figure out what time of day you want to block off to rest for 15 minutes for your 3 day adventure. This will help you actually do it.
It can be in the morning, midday when you have low energy, at the end of your workday before you transition to your evening home activities, or just before bed to help with sleep.
The time doesn’t really matter. What matters is you commit to 15 minutes of rest for the 3 days by picking a time and blocking it off on your calendar as soon as possible. You can then schedule other activities around it.
Trust that your mind and body will get what it needs no matter the time you pick.
It’s OK if you aren’t normally a napper. This is deep rest and relaxation for your nervous system. You might just have the most nourishing nap you've ever had. Be open to testing it out. You have to feel it in your body to truly understand the benefits.
It’s also OK if you're resisting because you’re telling yourself that you’re too busy. It’s normal for there to be resistance when trying something new and rest is not something that is encouraged by our society. Let the resistance pop up, notice it, but do it anyway. You deserve to rest no matter what your brain is telling you.
SIGN UP NOW FOR 3 DAYS OF REST
Say Yes To Rest!
P.S. If you’re worn out, burned out or just in need of a time out, the free 3 Day Rest Adventure is for you. All you have to do is lie down and listen for 15 minutes. And we’ll give you 2 simple prep steps to help you actually slow down enough to do it. We’ve got you so…
COME REST WITH US!
How To Stop Over-Stretching
Do you feel pain when you stretch? If so, it’s a sign you’ve gone too far.
Remember healthy tissue isn’t stiff. It’s elastic. Bungee cord like versus rope like.
You can bring the spring back to your body with stretching no matter your age but there is an art to stretching.
Just like we've evolved from flip phones to smart phones, we've made advances in stretching that can help you have better results.
First you have to learn to stop over-stretching.
If you experience pain with stretching, your body will tighten up more.
Why? The body’s response to pain is to protect, tighten up, guard.
Gentle stretching is key to stop over-stretching.
Stop stretching as far as you can go.
Start stretching at about 90% of your pain-free range of motion.
The goal is to calm the body so the tissue will lengthen and let go.
Here are some basic stretch principles to practice that'll help improve your elasticity:
Don’t force the motion or your body will tighten up. Check in with your face and neck. Are you tensing up because the movement is uncomfortable? That’s a sign you’re stretching too far.
Always breathe while stretching to help hydrate the tissue and increase the circulation to the area. Slow, deep breaths are calming.
Be mindful while stretching and focus on what you are feeling in your body as you stretch. Imagine restoring the spring in the tissue vs. pushing to your limits to get taller or more flexible.
Stretching the fascia can feel like a burning sensation, but it should go away as soon as you stop stretching. Feel for the tissue to let go, releasing before you stretch farther into the movement.
CHANGE THE TEMPO
Stretching with proper breathing prepares your nervous system for your next activity. Fast, shallow breaths will turn on your nervous system. Slow, deep breaths will calm your nervous system.
Breathe and stretch faster before exercise. Breathe and stretch slower after exercise for recovery.
CHECK YOUR FORM
Stretch with good form and control. Hold positions for 2-3 breaths before your workouts and a little longer after workouts.
Take mini movement breaks throughout the day to help your fascia be healthy and elastic. It all adds up whether it’s 3 breaths, 3 reps, or 3 minutes of movement.
Become more mindful of these principles as you stretch each day to help you feel and move better.
Let pain be your guide at first as a sign that you need to back off. Go slow, breathe, and let the tissue let go before you stretch deeper.
If you want to make lasting changes in your flexibility and posture, you’ll want to learn how to use fascial stretching and trigger point massage tools. We show you how in our online HIP Camp™.
HIP Camp™ routines are designed to help you release your most glued down stuck spots (whether they’re from chronic injuries or intense workouts) so you can move & perform pain-free.
Let’s get you stretching with (lasting) benefits!
Team Core Power
P.S. Ready to reshape your body in less than 10 minutes a day? Join us for HIP Camp™: Stretch & Rest Posture Moves & Tools to help you have a strong, confident, pain-free body.
3 Moves For A Strong Foot Core
I'm sure you've heard about how to exercise your core muscles in your trunk area but did you know you’ve got a foot core too?
We’ve got 4 layers of muscles in feet- i.e. the intrinsic muscles. 4 layers!!! Doesn’t seem like there is enough room, does it?
Most of the time you only hear about the plantar fascia (connective tissue) as it gets all the attention when it’s flared up, i.e. plantar fasciitis.
They may not be as vocal when you’ve got a foot injury, but the foot intrinsic muscles are important too. They make up your foot core and help provide stability of the arch and control toe movements. They play a huge role in functional movements and by helping with your balance and posture.
It's very easy for them to be weak or even turned off due to tight spots in your calf and foot fascia. They LOVE to be lazy when you’re wearing cushy shoes (all that cushion in our shoes helps with impact on our joints but encourages our foot core to not work very hard).
So how about we give them some love in honor of Valentine’s day?
1. DO A FOOT CORE CHECKUP.
You probably know if you have a high arch, low arch or no arch but let’s see how your foot core muscles are doing. This might be easiest to do in front of a mirror where you can see your foot vs trying to look down at your foot. Or you could video and look at it after you do the moves.
Stand on one leg. Hold onto a counter, wall or chair if needed to but with as little support as possible. Don’t lock out your knee- keep a soft knee.
What do you see going on in the foot your standing on?
Is there any flickering going on in the top of your foot tendons or any movement side to side from trying to keep from falling over?
Or is your foot like a flat pancake on the floor with no arch? Or maybe it’s like a dead fish- limp, no life?
Are your toes holding on for dear life to the floor, so you don’t fall over?
How does it feel?
Does it hurt to stand on one foot?
Are you wondering where the floor is?
Is it hard to balance? Are your hips working hard moving side to side to keep you upright?
No judgment just look and feel what’s going on or not going on.
What happens if you bend your knee slightly? Any changes?
Now check out the other foot. Go through same questions and then compare to other foot.
Flat arches, no signs of muscle activity on top of your foot, difficulty balancing and/or your toes flexed and trying to grip on the floor are signs your foot core muscles need some attention.
One foot core may be having more issues than the other one. It'll depend on which hand you are dominant and what kind of activities you do each day. Also if you've had any injuries on one side. It doesn't matter, both sides probably need attention.
2. GIVE YOUR FOOT CORE SOME LOVE.
Massage your foot core:
Self-Massage on the bottom of your feet with your hands or massage tools will help release trigger points (tender spots). Keep it simple and use a tennis ball, racket ball or even dog toy if you don’t want to buy a massage tool. Roll back and forth from the ball of your foot to the heel or find tender spots to hold pressure on for a few breaths then move to another tender spot.
You can do foot massage in sitting or standing. Sitting is less intense than standing. Massage the bottom of your foot as described to get to the foot core muscles. You can gently massage the top of your foot with your hands but the top (dorsum) of your foot is more sensitive and more bony.
If your foot is flared up, you can do ice massage by rolling back and forth on the bottom of your with a frozen water bottle for several minutes.
An added bonus to massaging your feet is that the bottom of your foot has acupressure spots for every organ in your body. When you massage your foot, you’re sending calming signals to your whole body.
Stretch your foot core:
Stretching the tight spots in your toes, ankles, and calves in sitting or standing can help your foot core turn on.
Strengthen your foot core:
Full body and barefoot workouts like Yoga or Pilates will help strengthen your foot core.
Challenge your foot core:
Pilates Reformer work, unstable surfaces (like Bosu ball or foam surfaces) and doing band work resistance exercises barefoot are some of my favorite ways to challenge the foot core.
Support your foot core:
Good arch support will help keep your foot in good alignment which helps your foot core turn on properly. You might need some extra arch support if you have very flat feet or high arches, stand a lot each day, or do an impact sport like running. It could be a simple over the counter foam insert to a custom orthotic.
Typically, the liner that comes in your shoe is crap. You’re not looking for a huge build up under the arch. Just a little arch support so it’s not completely collapsed, and you aren’t getting pain in your feet or knees with activities. You can learn from a health professional how to use kinesiotape to calm down foot pain if you get flare ups and support your arch but it’s important to also strengthen your foot core to help avoid foot injuries.
3. DO A RECHECK.
If you try any of the above foot care tips, recheck to see how your foot core is doing. Stand again on one leg and see what’s going on down there.
Do you see more activity on the top of your foot, have better balance and/or a little bit of arch activity where there is some space between your foot and the floor?
How does it feel? Hopefully you’ll feel more contact with the floor and more grounded or stable overall.
Even though your feet are at the end of the line, they’re the first body part in contact with the ground which then causes a chain reaction up the leg and into your trunk muscles. They need just as much love as the rest of your body. Just a few mini moves for the foot core make a big difference in your posture and balance.
Give your foot core some love each day!
Want more tips on how to check your form? Here's a Fit Blog that'll help.
Want more massage tools & stretch routines to support and challenge your foot core (and hip core) We’ll show you how in HIP Camp™.
How To Do A Shoe Checkup
How are your feet doing? If they aren't feeling healthy & happy, it’s always good to check in on any shoes that you use regularly or that have foam soles. Whether you wear them or not, the foam in your shoes gets more dense and compresses over time.
Don’t wait until your feet hurt to do a shoe checkup.
Have they lived their best life? Are the soles worn out? Is the fabric stretched out? Are your feet hurting at the end of the day or after workouts? Do your knees or back hurt more lately?
If so, they're all signs it might be time to get a new pair.
Before you pick out a pair because of the color or cuteness, here are some shoe shopping tips to consider that’ll help prevent injury and give your foot muscles the love they deserve.
What’s your first impression after putting on the shoes? Don’t play mind games with yourself by telling yourself that you need to wear them in for that seam cutting into your pinky toe to go away.
It doesn’t matter how cute they are, if anything feels uncomfortable or off when you first put them on... you need to move on.
If they pass the first impression test, move around in them to double check your foot and heel stay in place. Stand on one leg. Jump. Walk or run a few steps. Turn and stop quickly.
Still feel good without any slipping or sliding going on? You may have a keeper.
You're aiming for just enough support for your arch and the activity you will be doing. The more impact your activity, the more cushion you will likely need from your shoe.
Caution: Be careful with the barefoot or minimal arch shoe styles, especially if you run. I love to workout barefoot to help turn on all my foot muscles but it’s super easy to injure yourself if you run or lift weights with shoes that have minimal arch support. I’ve done it a few times and it can take months to heal foot injuries. If you have a pair, you must wean into them and they aren’t meant to be worn all day. Change it up and/or take a break if you feel your foot muscles getting tired or cramping when using a minimal arch support style shoe.
Make sure you’ve got the right tread on the bottom for what you’ll be doing. Rocky terrain requires a different level of traction than smooth pavement.
If you’re committed to a green lifestyle, take the time to investigate where your shoe parts and packaging come from and whether the shipping does or does not support the planet. Here are two companies to consider:
- Upper in Alveomesh (100% recycled plastic bottles). Alveomesh is a technical fabric made exclusively from recycled plastic bottles. It brings breathability, flexibility and lightness to the shoe.
- Pannels in suede & leather
- Side V Logo in Rubber and Rice Waste (23%)
- Organic cotton laces (100%)
- Midsole made from sugar cane (53%)
- Glued outsole made of Amazon rubber (12%) & rice waste (30%)
- Sugarcane insole, Amazon rubber, recycled E.V.A. & organic cotton
- Tech inner lining (100% recycled plastic bottles) developed to acquire a better resistance to friction and provide maximum comfort and flexibility thanks to its mesh structure.
It’s actually fun to see how creative these companies are getting with recycling and athletic gear. The Veja shoe listed above is super cute too.
OK, time to go check your shoes and get to shopping.
To Happy, Healthy Feet!
P.S. Ready to have a calm, strong, well-rested body? Our online bodywork camps will not only help you Move With Ease but every camp sale supports an organization that improves the health & welfare of animals and wild life like the Beagle Freedom Project & Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.
Challenge Your Core With Pilates
How’s it going using the Head To Toe Posture Checklist to turn on your core during workouts?
Are you more aware of how to reset your posture during your day?
One way to feel and get your core stabilizer muscles working is to hold a small ball or towel roll between your inner thighs as you run through the posture checklist or during your core exercises like when doing a basic abdominal crunch, hip bridge, plank or pushup.
If you’re ready for more of a challenge to your core, then it’s time to practice doing these posture cues while doing a mind body workout like Pilates.
Pilates exercises are some of the most powerful for strengthening AND stretching your core to improve your posture and performance.
Done right, you’ll walk out of your Pilates session a different person than going in. You’ll feel taller, calmer, centered... EMPOWERED.
Pilates is an art form like martial arts or dance. Knowing the history and purpose behind the exercises will help you experience the full benefits of it.
Just like dance, the more you practice Pilates, the more you perfect it and it becomes a lifestyle.
The first step is learning the movement pattern for each exercise then you progress to focusing on your form from head to toe while executing each exercise.
The goal is to eventually become your own coach. You can’t do that without having a good instructor to help you learn how each exercise should feel in your body.
Here are some resources to help you make sure you are getting the most out of your Pilates workouts and not just going through the motions:
Getting started and the benefits of Pilates
How to find a great Pilates Studio & Instructor
How to pick your first class & understand the most common Pilates cues
There is no better time than the present to introduce (or reintroduce) your body to the Pilates world.
I love that Pilates can be modified to be more gentle or challenging depending on what your body needs. I’ve used it with all ages and abilities.
When you stick with it, it becomes a lifestyle. It’s addictive 😊 but a healthy one.
Before you jump into your core workouts, try these moves to help turn on your core and maximize your results.
OPEN UP YOUR HIPS: tight hips can make it harder to contract the pelvic floor muscles (the base of your core). In fact, tight hips can pretty much turn off your pelvic floor. Stretch the front and back of your hips with a runner’s lunge and full squat to prep for a core workout.
WARM UP YOUR SPINE: The Baby Get Up is one of our favorites for warming up your spine and turning on your core before a workout.
CHECK YOUR FORM: Use this Head To Toe Posture Checklist to turn on your deep core stabilizer muscles and reset your posture during workouts. Be mindful of these spots for better form and check in frequently from head to toe that you’ve got yourself lined up during your core workouts.
Here is the Head To Toe Posture Checklist and posture cues to become familiar with and the video to walk you through the following spots.
HEAD TO TOE POSTURE CHECKLIST VIDEO
Becoming mindful of these key spots from head to toe during your core, Pilates or Yoga workouts will help you improve your posture overtime. Using good form during your workouts WILL carry over into your day.
You can take these posture cues out of the gym or off the mat to help reset your posture anytime during your day.
Better posture equals more confidence, better performance, and decreased risk for injury. You’ll walk, run, bike, row, and move better.
Prep, Reset, Reshape!
P.S. Download the Head To Toe Posture Checklist Video to reset your posture during your day.
Get Rid Of Pelvic Floor Pain
Exciting news! Mini Massage Camp™ is ready to roll. You'll find details below. But first, let's talk about pain down there.
This is Part 3 of the Pelvic Floor Series to help you have a strong, healthy pelvic floor for better core workouts, posture and performance.
We've addressed how to do a proper Kegel exercise (part 1) and how to trouble shoot the more common mistakes of the Kegel (part 2).
Now let's talk about what you can do to address pain or injuries to the pelvic floor muscles.
Pain anywhere in your body can turn off the muscle that is inflamed or hurting.
Your pelvic floor muscles can be injured just like any muscle resulting in painful scars and trigger points, weakness, or soft tissue restrictions.
Damage to these muscles can occur due to:
Injuries to the pelvic floor muscles can lead to pain or decreased sensation with sex, incontinence (leaking of urine or bowel), or organ prolapse (bladder, uterus or rectum drops lower). Fortunately there are treatment options to help rehab the pelvic floor after injury:
All of these rehab techniques can be done externally (in the pelvic, lower abdominal and back region) or internally (through the vagina or anus). Let’s break this down more.
External Pelvic Floor Rehab addresses pain from an outside approach. A Physical Therapist, especially one experienced with manual therapy and Pilates Rehab, will have the skills to provide exercise and treatment to stretch, strengthen, and release adhesions in the muscles around the hips, pelvis, and core.
Pilates Rehab with pelvic floor retraining is how I healed from a back injury that almost caused me to retire from PT in my 20's. I still use the exercises along with fascial bodywork tools to help my pelvic floor and core stay healthy and pain-free. These are the techniques I have taught my clients for years, many who had pelvic floor dysfunction or back pain, and now teach in my online camps.
Internal Pelvic Floor Rehab addresses pain from an inside approach. These specialists are certified to work internally on the pelvic floor muscles to stretch, strengthen and relax muscles in the lower pelvis. They're usually Physical Therapists or Nurse Practitioners with advanced training in this area. They can do manual therapy internally to release restrictions, biofeedback training to help strengthen, guide vaginal weight training for prolapse (i.e. vaginal pessary training), and design an exercise program to address your specific needs.
If you've had an injury to your pelvic floor muscles that has resulted in pain, scarring or incontinence (leaking of urine or bowel), reach out to your OB/GYN, Urologist, or Midwife for a referral to a Pelvic Floor Specialist in your area.
Internal pelvic floor rehab is a treatment to consider for decreased sensation or pain during sex as well. If you experience painful orgasms (dysorgasmia), this Mind Body Green article has 17 treatment and tips that you might find helpful.
If these more conservative approaches listed here don't help, there are medications and surgical options available. In addition, acupuncture or lifestyle changes for weight loss may be beneficial.
These issues can be debilitating but are treatable. Don’t give up. Keep searching for someone to help you with your issue.
It's never too late!
P.S. Ready to have more freedom & flow in less than 10 minutes a day? You’ll want to check out Mini Massage Camp™! Learn more.
It's time for more Kegel talk. A simple movement that can turn complicated quickly.
In Part 2 of this series, we’ll be troubleshooting some of the more common Kegel mistakes to help you have a strong, healthy pelvic floor for better core workouts, posture, and performance.
One of the most neglected areas of the body and least talked about until you’ve got an issue down there, is how to have a healthy pelvic floor (PF).
The pelvic floor muscles are important for all ages but can need more attention as you age. They form the base of your core and support all your organs.
The Kegel exercise is the basic way to strengthen them. We reviewed how to do a proper Kegel in this blog post.
Here’s the challenge of the Kegel...
A proper Kegel is done when you can contract the PF without the rest of your body tensing up.
Easier said than done, especially when you start moving your body while you Kegel.
Let’s do some troubleshooting on how to avoid the more common mistakes when you Kegel.
Do a check in while you Kegel. Are you?
Here are some tips to prep for the Kegel and take the tension out of your body:
OTHER AREAS TO ADDRESS FOR A HEALTHY PELVIC FLOOR
A few other issues you’ll want to pay attention to as you improve the overall health of your Pelvic Floor Muscles:
Pelvic Floor & Constipation
Constipation and doing the Valsalva maneuver (holding breath and bearing down when lifting or pooping) can over stretch the PF muscles. Improving the health of your gut can take pressure off your PF muscles that have the job of holding up your organs.
Do you have any GI issues? 1 in 4 Americans do. You could have up to 15 # of mucus from inflammation in your gut. Signs are painful joints, bulging belly, bloating. All that puts load on your PF muscles.
You can decrease inflammation through clean eating with lots of green veggies, eliminating foods that irritate (dairy, refined sugar, gluten), staying well hydrated, doing a quarterly detox/cleanse, taking probiotics and exercising regularly.
You might also want to check out The Squatty Potty™, a toilet stool that puts your body in the best posture for pooping to take pressure off your PF.
Pelvic Floor & Hormones
If you identify as female and still bleed monthly, you might notice that it’s easier to do Kegels during the middle of your cycle and more difficult at the beginning of it due to hormone changes. Just keep at it but be mindful of your cycle and plan your more intense workouts toward the middle of it when your pelvic floor muscles might be at their best.
Pelvic Floor & Fatigue
The pelvic floor muscles can fluctuate in endurance just like any muscle. Sometimes you can turn them on but not keep them on because of fatigue. Or you may notice you can turn them on with bladder empty but not with weight of full bladder (or when constipated). The weight of your organs may challenge the PF when tired. That’s OK – you just need to build your strength and endurance like you would any other muscle.
For strengthening, use the weight of gravity to challenge your PF. Example: going from laying down to sitting to standing to moving your body as you Kegel. Each position has to deal with more and more gravity.
For endurance, add reps throughout the day to challenge your PF. Once you can do a proper Kegel in sitting, you can practice anytime throughout the day to build endurance- while driving, watching TV, standing in line. The more complicated the activity you are doing, the more challenging it will be to hold the Kegel and breathe.
The more mindful you can be of your form while holding your Kegel, will help guide you on when to challenge yourself with more gravity or moving your body.
When you can’t hold the Kegel without tensing up in a position, you may have pushed too fast or done too many reps in that position. Listen to your body. It’ll guide you. You'll know when you need a rest break or it's time to slow down.
You've got this!
Mollie Miller, PT
Core Power Health & Fitness, Inc. does not provide medical advice. Consult a licensed physician prior to beginning any exercise or nutrition program.
Copyright © 2015 Core Power Health & Fitness Inc.
Core Power Health & Fitness, Inc. does not provide medical advice. Consult a licensed physician prior to beginning any exercise or nutrition program.
Copyright © 2015 Core Power Health & Fitness Inc.