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So, we’ve already helped you realise that you need more than one sort of exercise to stop you leaking. I now need get a bit more specific on how to give your pelvic floor the proper workout it needs, so you can end the shame and misery of leaking.
Today, I’m going to talk about building endurance in your pelvic floor so you can hold your bladder and put off going to the loo until a convenient time and there’s a loo near. It will mean that you can go shopping without needing to be on the constant look out for the nearest toilet and you can go for a long walk or run and stay dry whilst you are out.
Strengthening the slow twitch muscle fibres of your pelvic floor is what is needed for endurance. You need to be working at a submaximal level and hold the contraction for a good chunk of time. You want to feel that the contraction stays at that same level of power and doesn’t slowly drop off overtime or when you take a breath. It can stay consistently working in the background whilst you breathe and do what you’ve got to be doing!
This type of pelvic floor exercise is very important to do if you have an issue of prolapse whereby when you’re running a walking, you’ll start to feel heaviness or pain down below.
Working these endurance muscle fibres is also key if your problem is one of an overactive bladder, where you need to go the loo more frequently than normal and you often get a sudden urge to go which you can’t control.
If you are suffering from faecal urge incontinence where you can’t make it to the loo on time when you get the urge to go, this type of pelvic floor training is super important.
So, when training your pelvic floor for endurance your aim is to gradually build and hold a submaximal contraction (that means you aren’t trying as hard as you possibly can) but you can then hold it for 10 seconds and then gently release it. To give these types of muscle fibres chance to recover you need to then wait 10 seconds before trying again. Your goal here is to be able to do ten of these endurance contractions, holding each one for 10 seconds and then releasing and waiting 10 seconds until you start again.
Now for many of you when you start you might find you can only last for two or three seconds and then you realise that there’s nothing left in the tank. This is totally normal, but you need to build it up and you need to stick with the programme whilst your muscles get stronger. Think of these endurance muscle fibres as marathon runners. If you’re serious about running a marathon you need to take time to strengthen up and be able to keep going for maybe up to four hours or longer. You wouldn’t expect to be able to run for four hours right from the start. No of course you wouldn’t. You’d need to take time to train and to build your muscles endurance and strength up to sustain you running for that amount of time! It sounds so obvious when you explain it like that. Your pelvic floor is the same.
So, the first type of pelvic floor work out enables you to stay dry and be able to put off going to the loo until it is convenient for you. This training is about building endurance.