Fitness

My Journey to Idea World 2018 and Why This Year is so Special

My Journey to Idea World 2018 and Why This Year is so Special

10 years ago I was volunteering in the home office for Idea Health and Fitness Association with a mouth-watering craving to become a presenter myself someday. I wanted to be as inspiring, as captivating, and as skilled as the presenters I admired.

Getting there has been quite the journey. And this year is more special than ever.

Kegel Exercises are an Important Part of Fitness Programs

Kegels are an exercise that strengthens the pelvic floor muscles. Pelvic floor muscles ideally work in harmony with the hips and abdominals as part of the larger movement system, making them a crucial component of strength training.

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Pelvic floor muscles are just as important as biceps, abs, and glutes. Maybe even more so because they support the structure for all of these other muscles along with several important organs – including the bladder.

Why are Kegels important for both men and women?

Anyone, male or female who is wanting a stronger core and incontinence prevention or treatment should be doing Kegels. A strong pelvic floor supports the bladder to prevent and address urination issues. Pelvic floor strength is crucial for daily activities of living, especially when working with special populations such as prenatal, postpartum, senior citizens and prostate cancer patients and survivors.

The pelvic floor holds a second set of organs (baby!) during pregnancy and usually needs retraining and strengthening postpartum. Cancer treatments performed in the pelvic region can cause muscle weakness. Carol Michaels, the creator of the Cancer Exercise Specialist Program says, “Kegels are great for prostate cancer patients because they minimize incontinence and can improve erectile issues. They can help control incontinence without medication or surgery. It is wise to start Kegel exercises before surgery and treatments.”

Kegels are ideally trained in a variety of positions (laying down, sitting, standing), but can be worked anywhere, anytime in any position – no gym necessary! So, teach them to your clients and help them identify when a good time is for them to work those pelvic floor muscles – such as when sitting in a meeting, waiting at a traffic light, or reading books to children.

What is a Kegel exercise and how is it done?

Most often a Kegel exercise is described as the contraction of muscles that stop the flow of urine. Performing a Kegel is more complex than this though because it involves a “drawing in and up” sensation. Have your client imagine grasping his hands around a ball of play-doh to squeeze it. This is the main feeling you want him to experience when performing a kegel.

Many people perform Kegels incorrectly by pushing down and out onto the pelvic floor with other surrounding muscles. Carrie Myers, a therapeutic exercise physiologist coaches her clients to picture an elevator coming up into the abdomen from the pelvic floor and cues “level one, level two, level three”.

Drawing up and in is what pelvic muscles need to be trained to do to support the abdominal cavity. Pushing down and out overrides the pelvic floor muscles and usually indicates usage of other larger, stronger muscles such as the abdominals.

How long to do Kegels and how many each day?

Have your client start by doing one Kegel properly and holding it for as long as she can, ideally 5-10 seconds, three times per day. Have her work up to 5-10 repetitions three times per day. Suggest contractions that are short and repeated as well as contractions that are held isometrically so to work both fast and slow twitch muscle fibers.

When re-training a weak pelvic floor your client may tire more easily in the beginning and need to do them more frequently throughout the day. Eventually, pelvic floor muscles should be trained at the same frequency as other muscles so not to over-work them, but to maintain strength. Kegels are a great warm-up movement for abdominal work. As with any exercise, Kegels become easier and more natural as strength is gained.

Tips for Kegel Exercises

  • Relax the surrounding muscle groups in the buttocks, legs, and abdomen.
  • Visualize lifting the pelvic floor upward rather than pushing down and out (like when eliminating).
  • Relax the pelvic floor muscles completely in between contractions by inhaling and exhaling slowly so the muscles can fully contract and relax – avoiding hypertonicity.
  • Use the above image of the pelvic floor to visualize the muscles that are contracting.
  • Don’t do Kegels when urinating, except when first learning to locate the muscles and build awareness.

Kegel exercises should be part of a well-rounded fitness program. They are just as important as pull-ups, push-ups, and planks. Even though Kegels are especially important for special populations everyone should be doing them (including fitness instructors) so introduce the Kegel to your clients in your next workout during the warm-up. It will support and benefit all the other exercises they do.

Originally Published on the NFPT Blog.

Bev's 2017 New Year Intentions

Bev's 2017 New Year Intentions

New years resolutions are all the buzz right now. How to. How not to. Is anyone else feeling the pressure? How about instead of resolutions that last an ENTIRE YEAR, we work on setting intentions that last a month, a week or even just a day! 

My approach this year is simple. Partially because I'm a new mama that views a hot shower as a luxury vacation and also because of a book I recently read...

The Common Mistakes People Make When Warming Up

The Common Mistakes People Make When Warming Up

Has anyone told you to “warm up” before you exercise or play sports? It seems simple enough, doesn’t it? What’s easy to do is also easy not to do, and the biggest mistake people make is skipping this important component of exercise. Here’s what you need to know to warm up properly (and why it’s so important) so you can be more effective with your physical activities. 

Hip Pain From Marathon Running

Hip Pain From Marathon Running

I'm constantly reminded of how intelligent our bodies are.  They hold all the answers, if we just take the time to listen and explore.  Body awareness and anatomy are the two tools that I find invaluable when investigating a body complaint.  

Once in awhile I get really extra lucky with a client.  I find the answer in one session and never have to see them again.  It's times like these that keep me going and wanting to help people with their bodies. 

Stand Up Paddle Board Workout

Stand Up Paddle Board Workout

If you live near a lake, river or oceanfront, you’ve undoubtedly seen increasing numbers of people on stand-up paddleboards (SUP). This popular activity is super fun and provides a great workout. You can make the experience even more rewarding, however, by using your off-the-board workout time to strengthen those SUP-specific muscles. 

How to create the best exercises for your favorite sport

How to create the best exercises for your favorite sport

Starting over is hard.  Especially when you were so in love!  Did you ever have to take a break from your favorite sport?  Have you injured yourself and had to stop doing something you really enjoy?  Injuries are a set-back no one wants to experience.  Yet we all know what pain feel like.

Are you storing fat or burning it?

Are you storing fat or burning it?

It's natural to store fat for winter.  Living up here in Montana has made that even more clear to me, with all of the animals that hibernate in this part of the country.  If you've been watching the news, you know that some of the bears came out of hibernation early.  

Are you ready to come out of hibernation mode?

Five of the BEST Recovery Strategies

Five of the BEST Recovery Strategies

Do you or your clients have tight muscles?  Have they been injured?  OR Are they injury prone?  While we cannot diagnose or treat injuries, we can suggest recovery strategies that can alleviate discomfort or possibly prevent injury.  Encourage your clients to apply one or more of these strategies after every workout!

Dance, Sing, Love

Its no wonder that Draza teaches dance classes and also is so gifted at her healing work with adults through her dance therapy sessions and reiki.She applies the same principles that stem from the heart to both young and old.Connecting the body and movement to the soul is her gift and dance is one of her main methods of doing this.