In this article, we’ll outline seven simple ways to integrate pelvic floor muscle exercises into your daily self-care routine.
Reframing pelvic floor muscle exercises
If you’ve ever been to the doctor about a muscular issue, such as a back ache or shoulder pain, usually their first port of call is to recommend that you do a set of exercises however many times a day for X period of time.
The same clinical advice applies to when you find yourself leaking urine – even if it’s only a bit when you cough, sneeze or laugh. The doctor or physio explains that your pelvic floor is a group of muscles that need strengthening (or relaxing) just like weak (or overworked) back or shoulder muscles.
Here are a few ways we’ve found that help us incorporate pelvic floor muscle exercises into our own daily self-care routines.
1. Don’t think of them as a chore
Just like brushing your teeth, flossing, showering, brushing your hair, drinking water, getting sleep – pelvic floor muscle exercises are a key part in your daily self-care routine. And like brushing your teeth, flossing, showering, etc – doing your pelvic floor muscle exercises on a daily basis is good hygiene.
2. Make them part of a pre-existing routine
Have a set routine at a certain time of day? Could you add in a couple minutes to focus on your pelvic floor muscle exercises? Why not add your pelvic floor muscle exercises (or pfmes) to your morning or evening routines? Example – wake up, wash face, brush teeth, do your pfmes, shower, get dressed, etc.
3. Give yourself a visual trigger
Remember when you (or your flatmate) were trying to learn a language and there were post-it notes all over the place? Well, we’re not suggesting going to such an extreme but a well placed visual reminder – be it on the fridge door, next to the kettle, on your bathroom mirror, on your bedside table can work wonders. Visual triggers help your remember and can support new routines you’d like to implement.
4. Find other daily triggers
Perhaps doing your exercises after you’ve just completed a task or washed your hands would work for you? Maybe you call someone or drop kids off every day and, once you’re alone again, that’s the perfect time for you to pause for your pfmes before your rush back into life and move on to the next ‘to do’ item.
5. Take advantage of down time
With a bit of practice, taking advantage of your time on public transportation or waiting for a phone call, seems like a good opportunity to fit in your pfmes. These natural breaks from life are great because you aren’t actually able to do much else.
6. Set reminders on your phone or use an app to help you remember
Right. So massive disclaimer, you ARE on the Squeezy website. And we ARE an app that helps people remember to do their pelvic floor exercises so it would be remiss of us to not mention ourselves BUT you can just as easily set reminders on your phone for a quick DIY version. You would miss out on our nifty visual exercise guide and pelvic health physiotherapist recommended programme, but if you have your plan from your healthcare professional you should have all the info you need.
See what works best for you. Maybe a combination of the above would work. And remember, if at first you don’t succeed… you know how it goes… it may take some time to find the right mixture that helps you integrate pelvic floor muscle exercises into your daily self-care routine. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Tomorrow is another opportunity to experiment and find out which combination works best for you.
The trick with all of these tips though is to make sure you’re giving yourself enough space to do your exercises properly and not just pretend to go through the motions.
In the beginning, it will take more concentration and focus but over time as your pelvic floor becomes stronger, and you are more confident that you’re doing them correctly, it will become easier!
Right, the ball is in your court. Now all you have to do is pick a strategy to experiment with and get squeezing! You can do it!