Our Pilates practitioner, Ashley, has also prepared some gentle exercises to help reconnect to your pelvic floor, lower back and belly. You can follow this simple routine as a warm up for the Pilates classes, or do it when you have some time each day, to build yourself up slowly.
Pelvic floor exercises
The pelvic floor consists of layers of muscles that stretch like a supportive hammock from the pubic bone (in front) to the end of the backbone. If your pelvic floor muscles are weakened, you may find that you leak urine when you cough, sneeze or strain.
Gradually squeeze and increase the tension in your pelvic floor using the following techniques;
- Squeeze slowly and hold for pelvic floor connection for 5 to 10 seconds. Release slowly. Repeat 10 times.
- Perform quick, short and hard squeezes. Repeat 10 times.
- Aim for five or six sets each day
Exercises to strengthen the pelvis and lower back
Pelvic tilts gently move and stretch your back and exercise your tummy muscles. They can also help to ease back pain. You can do pelvic tilts lying down, sitting or while balancing on an exercise ball.
Here's how to do pelvic tilts while lying down:
- Lie on the floor or on your bed. Place a pillow under your head. Bend your knees by sliding your feet up towards your bottom.
- Tighten your pelvic floor and pull in your lower tummy muscles, before imprinting the lumbar spine (lower back) into the floor or bed. Hold this for a count to three and then arch your back away from the floor or bed. Repeat 10 times. Breathing fully with complete breaths.
Belly breathing exercises
Belly breathing simply involves allowing your stomach to expand and contract as much as possible while you actively inhale and exhale as deeply as possible. Anytime you feel anxious or upset, taking 6 large belly breaths – slowly in and out – will help to ease your anxiety and calm your mind.