The words ‘Mum, come jump on the trampoline with us’ fill me with dread. As a mum, I’m sure you can guess why. If not, I’ll give you some more clues; coughing or robust laughing are also fraught with danger. Yep, you guessed it … pelvic floor! I think I accidentally left mine at the hospital when I checked out with child number three, writes mum Sarah O’Bryan…
With this problem in mind, I set out to see what the North Shore could do for me. One name kept popping up – Sally Anderson, national Pilates expert and Cirque du Soleil trainer.
I headed down to her new Pymble studio, WellFit, to discover her pelvic floor remedies. As soon as I walked in, I knew this wasn’t your average gym or fitness space. Greeted by the statement: ‘Physical fitness is the first prerequisite of happiness’ by Joseph Pilates, I got the sense this tribe lived and breathed their craft. Beautifully fitted out, I nestled into one of the warm and welcoming lounges, ready to chat to Sally.
After some general chitchat, I cut straight to the case: ‘As a busy mum, I need some quick, simple exercises for pelvic floor improvement.’
‘Let’s start with the concept of “moving your sitting bones”,’ responded Sally. ‘This is one of the best go-to concepts for everyone to use. Your sitting bones are exactly that – the bones you sit on. Feel them and get to know them. If you can set your mind to trying to “move them together” you will be helping to create a concentric contraction of the pelvic floor (muscle fibres shorten as they activate), and “moving them apart” will help to give you an eccentric contraction lengthening of the muscle fibres as you actively use the muscles.’
Sally then moved me over to the timber floor of the studio where she guided me through a couple of exercises that can be done daily. They were as follows.
- Cat stretches on all fours. Kneeling on all fours, exhale to move your sitting bones towards each other as you pull your abdominals up towards the spine and curl your back. Inhale as you move your sitting bones apart from each other and lengthen out your spine, sending your sternum and tailbone up to the ceiling. Repeat 5-10 times.
- Squats in the kitchen. Holding your kitchen bench for support and alignment, have your feet a little wider than your hips with toes slightly turned out. Inhale and sit into an imaginary chair as you move your sitting bones apart, then exhale as you press into your heels to return to standing while moving your sitting bones back together. Repeat 5-10 times.
These exercises are so easy to do and really don’t take up much time at all. Before I left the studio, I also caught up with WellFit resident dietitian Kate Bennett. After lamenting how hopeless I am when it comes to having healthy solutions at the ready, she kindly gave me the following recipe. I have since found it perfect for using up the last bit of ingredients left in the pantry!
Banana Muesli Slice
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes
1 banana, ripe and mashed
1/2 tbsp honey
2 1/2 cups of any dry ingredients you like (oats, seeds, dried fruit, nuts etc)
1 cup oats
1/4 cup pepita seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup sultanas
1/4 cup dates, chopped
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp chia seeds
1. Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan-forced)
2. Place wet ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
3. Place dry ingredients in a bowl, then stir in banana and egg mixture until well combined and all ingredients are nicely coated.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden on top. Allow pan to cool on a wire rack, then cut into pieces.
Note: Slice keeps for up to 5 days, but may also be frozen and kept for up to 3 months.
With a little spring in my step, I left the studio trying to decide whether to do the PilatesWell or PostureFit class later in the week, before going home to whip up my Banana Muesli Slice with the bananas currently browning in my fruit bowl. Bouncing on the trampoline with the kids is sure going to be a lot more fun than fearful in the near future.
For more information on classes to strengthen your pelvic floor, visit WellFit Studio or call 9440 7130.
More on exercise…