Last week I went to the gynecologist for my yearly checkup. It's not my favorite thing to do. Lucky for me, I have a physician with good people skills. She chit chats during the pelvic exam and asks me questions to ease the awkwardness of laying spread eagle on the table. I told her about Lisa, a physical therapist I interviewed who says that a lot of women try Kegel exercises to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles but a lot of them aren't doing it correctly. "What do you think about that?" I asked her. "I think of washboard abs," she said. "What???" "Even if you're doing Kegel exercises correctly, you won't have strong pelvic floor muscles unless you do enough of them, and do it regularly. People who have washboard abs do what it takes to get them. You can't just exercise when you remember to fit it in. And you don't develop rock hard abs after only a couple weeks of exercise. It takes consistent workouts, done correctly over a long period of time. Same is true for strengthening pelvic floor muscles," she said.
Darn! I wish I could just wave a magic wand and POOF – strong pelvic floor muscles AND abs of steel. My gynecologist recommends doing a set of 10 squeezes at least twice a day. With an empty bladder, contract the muscles you use to stop the flow of urine, pulling in and up (think of an elevator rising up in your vagina.) Don't allow your buttocks or stomach muscles to tighten. Squeeze for the count of ten, and relax for the count of ten. I did the math. If every count is one second long, that's only 20 seconds for each repetition. That's just over three minutes for a set of ten. And Kegel's can be done while you're doing other things. I do Kegel exercises when I'm drying my hair in the morning. Anyone have a good idea for adding a second 3 minute workout to my evening routine? I just cut out a picture of washboard abs from a magazine, and taped it on my bathroom mirror. No one has to know it’s a reminder to do my Kegels.
How about you? Do you include pelvic floor strengthening exercises as part of your daily routine?