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That thing that nobody talks about…(sssh!)

So, there’s something that everybody, yet nobody, talks about in the gym but it’s one of the main subjects of emails I receive from women across the country each day.
It’s something that time and time again is brought up in gym classes, personal training sessions and on girly coffee dates across Ireland, yet still there’s a form of taboo about the subject. When I mention the term ‘pelvic floor muscles’ most women snigger and think back to that Sex and The city episode where Samantha mentions her reasons for her kegel exercises- not a bad reason in all fairness either, I suppose 😉

The truth is though, that 1 in 3 women suffer with weak pelvic floor muscles, particularly after giving birth, having a hysterectomy or even after a period of weight gain- and this ‘embarrassing problem’ can have a huge impact on their self-esteem. As I mentioned it’s something that few people come forward openly about, yet so many emails suggest it’s something I really needed to bring to the table. So many mothers’ day-to-day and work lives are impacted by pelvic floor weakness and often they do not know that there are actually solutions out there. With 1 in 3 suffering, it’s just crazy to think that there isn’t more information out there. I don’t actually have children myself but I have friends, colleagues and relatives of course who do, and it saddens me to imagine any of them suffering in silence.

So what are the main causes of Pelvic Floor Weakness?
As you get older, your pelvic floor muscles get weaker, but women who have had children or a hysterectomy tend to suffer quite readily from this condition. The most common symptoms are needing to go to the toilet frequently or accidentally ‘leaking’ when exercising, laughing, coughing or sneezing. You may also sense heaviness in your pelvic area or have reduced sensation.

So how do you start to strengthen my Pelvic Floor Muscles?
I asked the Directors of The Edge: Clontarf for some tips on Pelvic Floor Restoration. They recommended glute bridges, weighted glute bridges, planks and gentle abdominal exercises. They also recommended squats and lunges once the client feels strong enough. If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, you can start doing pelvic floor exercises straight away. These exercises will lower your risk of experiencing any issues after having your baby.

Glute Bridge

Here is a simple glute bridge routine you can start doing today:
Step 1
Sit, stand or lie down with your legs slightly apart and relax your thighs, glutes and abdominal muscles. Do not hold your breath or tighten your stomach, glutes or thigh muscles at the same time.

Step 2
Try to complete up to 10 slow raises and 10 fast raises.

Step 3
Repeat these exercises 4-5 times every day. Every week, you can add more squeezes, but be careful not to overdo it and always have a rest between sets of squeezes. Add a weight to your tummy once you feel ready to advance the exercise.

After a few months, you should start to notice the results. You should carry on doing the exercises, even when you notice them starting to work. Do persevere- Strong pelvic floor muscles can also mean increased sensitivity during sex and stronger orgasms for women too- ladies take note!!!

Is there something you can do to help speed up Pelvic Floor Restoration?
Most people should notice an improvement in a few months after incorporating the at-home exercises, but for some people that’s just too long a wait. While it’s important to keep up with your regular strength and cardio routine, for some women (and men!) this can prove too much and can lead to embarrassing situations. Some people start to avoid the gym or any public places as a result.

Neurotech Vital Compact is an external garment that you can wear in the comfort of your own home. It is a clinically proven product that has been a life-changing product for women  across the world for Pelvic Floor restoration. For just a few minutes each day for about four weeks, many new mums have seen huge improvements in their day to day life.
The product was recently covered by Ireland AM and on Pat Kenny’s show on Newstalk earlier this year too and has been readily welcomed by some of my own followers who were looking for a solution to their problem.

So what is Neurotech Vital Compact?
It actually looks like an EMS machine my boyfriend uses to help his muscles recover after strenuous  exercise sessions- He finds it great to restore his muscles on his legs and back after squatting for example.

Neurotech Vital what it looks like

This product, Vital Compact, delivers neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) via external garments, kind of like a little padded velcro mini skirt 🙂  This is worn around the upper thighs and glutes and holds eight large electrodes which deliver stimulation across the pelvic floor safely and comfortably. I tried it myself and it’s so easy to use. I actually watched an episode of House of Cards while wearing it for the first time haha!

It basically works by activating and exercising the pelvic floor muscles using cycles of contraction and relaxation ensuring stronger, more effective muscle recruitment. The easy to use little controller allows you to increase and decrease the level of simulation giving you full control at all times. Honestly, it’s so easy to use- it’s like a big remote control- if I can use it anyone can! It guarantees that the right muscles are targeted in the right way every time. Here’s a video on what it looks like and how it works!
So, in a nutshell, if you are looking for strong and effective muscle rehabilitation you might want to check this out- you can even buy it online too, for anyone that might be a bit shy about going into a shop and asking for it! You can buy it here.

Just one more thing to note – just because you start to feel better, it doesn’t mean you should stop either using the Vital Compact or your pelvic floor exercises. These are like any other muscles and require a little work on your side to help keep them strong and healthy.
Your muscles can actually weaken again so effective and consistent exercises will provide life-long pelvic floor health and using Vital Compact twice weekly as part of your on going maintenance program will play a key role in this!

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