This summer is panning out to be mad busy and so blogging has taken a bit of a back seat for the past few weeks. I’m typing this in my hotel room in Stockholm currently, not sure where I’ll be when I actually get round to publishing it! I missed out on reviewing my July habit and so as it’s sort of linked with the August one, and I’ve been about as diligent with both, I thought I’d review them together.
The July habit was to do 5 mins a day of core work and August was to do three sets of pelvic floor exercises per day.
Days habit missed: I reckon I managed about 80% of days with both of these
Ease of doing daily: Easy – it’s just remembering!
Equipment required: None
Is it something I’ll continue? Yes
Fact: Most people think of their core as just their abs, but actually muscles in your back, hips and indeed your pelvic floor are all part of your core. Whilst a flat stomach is an obvious benefit of strengthening this area, is actually really important for stability and good posture and for functional fitness (being able to bend, twist etc that you might do going about your day). Having a strong core is important in preventing injury and for keeping flexible as we age.
I didn’t used to worry too much about having a flat stomach, I seemed to be quite blessed in my younger days and spent much more time worrying about my backside. That changed a bit after children, not so much the first time, but my 2nd pregnancy left me with a definite mum tum. I also suffered from back pain while I was pregnant with Pops, so I hoped strengthening my core would see off any longer term problems. Throw in the fact that carrying around 8-ish lbs of baby + associated fluids etc puts a lot of strain on the pelvic floor muscles and the whole thing becomes a no brainer.
The good thing about working out regularly, particularly resistance training, is that many exercises hit the core area. This is not about doing endless crunches, but everything from deadlifts to shoulder presses require the core muscles to be engaged. So several days a week, my five minutes gets ticked off during whatever other session I’m doing. On the days I’m not engaging my core, I do a quick 5 min set of exercises that I try and mix up each time – planks, crunch variations, back extensions etc. I’ve even devised a few standing ab sessions for when there is only a scummy floor available that I don’t want to lie on.
Pelvic floor exercises are easy to fit in – you can literally do them anywhere. It’s more a question of remembering, but I’ve tried to link them with triggers in my day e.g. a set in the car whilst I’m sitting at the traffic lights on the way to work etc.
And the results? Well, I’m not going to publish a picture of my, ahem, rock hard abs (or indeed my rock hard pelvic floor muscles you’ll be relieved to hear). However, I’ve definitely noticed improvements in my strength and I rarely get back pain (except on holiday when the bed was massively uncomfortable). The old jumping jacks are definitely less of a hazard than they were a year ago. These two habits are definitely keepers.