The theory behind doing pelvic floor exercises is that you can do them anytime, any place and without anyone knowing. However, the reality for me (and I suspect for most people) is quite different. The only time I remember to do them is when someone mentions ‘pelvic floor’ so every so often I’ll do a few squeezes and then forget all about it again.
Frankly, this lackadaisical attitude is something I’m going to end up regretting hugely and, in fact, I’m already suffering from the negative effects of not having a pelvic floor performing at its peak. Therefore, when I was offered the opportunity to try Elvie, an exercise tracker for the pelvic floor, I jumped at the chance (but not too high as my poor core strength wouldn’t allow it).
My story is that when I was pregnant I got Symphysis Pubic Diastasis. This is the over-loosening of the pelvic ligaments caused by the hormone Relaxin which gets released the body ready to give birth. The symptoms are extreme pain and instability. I also suffered from hip pain which may or may not have been related. Unfortunately, six years on, I was still getting twinges of pain and there were limitations to how easily I could move, i.e feeling awkward getting up from sitting on the floor, not being able to run for any distance or at any great speed etc.
I’ve now been using my Elvie for about 6 weeks and things have improved for me no end. I think there are two main reasons why it’s worked. Firstly, having a device encouraged me to have a set routine that I kept to pretty religiously. Secondly, the Elvie itself is very cleverly designed and makes you exercise the pelvic floor muscles properly and effectively (which can be hard to do without something to guide you). Also, you’re progress is monitored and reported back to you and getting instant feedback is always a great motivator.
The Elvie is like a little mouse and you insert the body and keep the tail on the outside. You need to download the app to your phone and then sync it via bluetooth. From then on it’s a case of simply following the on-screen instructions. The exercise programs have been designed as games and you can ‘play’ for as little as few minutes or longer. It took me a short while to get used to the movements but I think that’s a strong indication of how much I needed to do this. As I mentioned before, at the end of the session you get a score which you can compare to your previous sessions.
The biggest and best benefit I’ve had since using the Elvie is a more stable and strong core and much less back/hip pain and twinges. I also do core exercises in the gym I think the Elvie has made me perform better at these. Also, because I’m doing using the Elvie regularly, I’m much more aware of my core and this (and the exercises themselves) have helped improve my posture. It seems to be one of those situation where one benefit feeds into another. There’s also another upside which I’m a bit too prudish to write about in a lot of detail but it involves improved sexual pleasure (cough cough).
The Elvie can also help with incontinence issues which are really common especially after childbirth. Maybe because I had a caesarean this hasn’t been a concern for me but using Elvie will definitely help prevent this generally. Though I had quite specific pelvic problems I strongly feel that women should be encouraged to take care of the pelvic floor to prevent the problems in the first place. And this should be regardless of whether they plan to have children or not. This is definitely a subject that needs a lot more openness and awareness.
Elvie has a very discreet and modern design which is nice but it’s the least important aspect to me. I actually don’t think we should feel the need to be secretive about using it but pleased and proud about doing something that enhances our well being in many different ways.
Interestingly, John Lewis is now stocking Elvie which is a big vote of confidence for the device as they only stock things that meet their high standards. Also, I think it’s a great step in normalising a device that every woman will benefit from using.
The Elvie is £149 and available HERE.
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