Imagine your pelvic muscle like an oversized pair of granny panties. It is literally shaped a pair of underpants and thus holds your entire lower body in position. It is like a sling holding up the uterus, bowels, and other organs. Most commonly, when people talk about this, they only refer to the pelvic muscle floor, when it actually is more than just the floor and does indeed extend to your core.
Like any other muscle, if it is weak or not adequately trained, it fails to keep up with it asigned tasks. In the case of the pelvic muscle being too weak or weakend can result in incontinence or sexual challenges, but most importantly can cause permanent pain in the lower back. Weak pelvic muscle however affect both men and women alike as we age. Yet it is rarely ever talked about with regards to men. Though the effect of pregnancy is certainly way more significant. In short, giving this muscle a bit of attention is a very valuable cause, especially after having a child as the hormones released during the 9 month prior stretch and soften the pelvic in order to prepare the body for birth. Like always, every woman is different and while some can still go for a run until the very late stages of pregnancy, others (like me) suddenly notice that the pelvic floor becomes soft pretty early on (thanks hormones, grrrr) and you are unable to ride your bike alreary halfway through the “build-your-own-baby” journey. No matter which type you are, what unites us all is the need to give this muscle attention postpartum to bring it back up to it’s pre-baby-strength.
The challenge with the pelvic muscle is rooted in the fact that most people are unable to actually consciously tighten that muscle. That is why this article features a little excersise that helps you to naturally and subconsciously tighten and release that muscle to train it. Another great excersise is actually hula hoop. Check out my article about it, if you want to learn more (click here).
While most new moms are aware that they need to strengthen their pelvic muscle postpartum, a lot of us feel at a loss on how to approach this. This rings especially true, given that there is this new tiny human that demands our attention and it feels impossible to squeeze in an excersise routine, because we feel exhausted, because it feels selfish to do a work out instead of cuddling our mini-me 24/7, because we don’t actually feel ready or strong enough to excersise, because we don’t know where and how to start.
This is why, this little excersise is so amazing, as it actually doesn’t feel like an exersise and doesn’t even require any extra time or attention. Yet it is actually pretty effective.
All you have to do is, take your baby for a walk in their stroller and instead of pushing the stroller like you normally would (with the palm of your hands facing downward), turn your hands sideways, so your palms face upwards when you push the stroller, just like in the picture above.
If you only carry your baby, instead of using a stroller, use the grocery store cart for this excersise every time you go shopping, It’s the exact same mechanism at play.
Now why is that a pelvic muscle excersise? By turning your hands upside down, you naturally push your arms and shoulders back when you push an object any by having your shoulders in that position you autumatically activate and tighten the pelvic muscle area in order to be able to push forward.
Don’t worry if it feels akward at first. You will however realize after 5 minutes of pushing the stroller like that it is actually pretty tiring and challenging even though it doesn’t look like much. Only ever do as much as you can without exhausting yourself. It is better to have several shorter sessions than pushing yourself over your limit. Besides 5-10 minutes after perfectly enough per day. It’s not about crunching in hours and hours of excersise as regaining your physical strength is not a race against anyone (including yourself), it is a baby steps journey of recovery. A routine that you can start at any time of motherhood whether your baby is 6 weeks or 6 month old or whether you discover 2 years later that your pelvic could indeed do with being stronger.
The beauty of this excersise is that you are doing something you would do anyways, going for a walk with your baby or running errands in the grocery store (if you use a shopping cart). By just altering this process a tiny bit (by changing the position of your hands), you do not have to make any extra time for a workout, you integrate your workout into your every day routine. And I guess we can all agree that as moms we really do not need extra stuff added on top of being someones mom that adds additional pressure. Simply because we can’t help but feel like we failed at being supermom, if we yet again didn’t manage our workout for our pelvic (like Pilates or Kegel excersises). Thereby you manage the workout by integrating into something you do anyways and don’t let the workout manage you and especially you don’t allow supermom pressure you rule over your self-esteem.
Most importantly, never forget: Whatever you do and however you live your life, love yourself fiercely and treat yourself kindly!