These exercises can improve circulation to the pelvic organs; decrease tightness, stiffness or congestion from prolonged sitting or standing; increase pelvic flexibility; improve balance and—not enough for you?—help you gain a better awareness of spinal stability.
Fitness instructor: Gail Wetzler, PT, EDO, is the owner of Wetzler Integrative Physical Therapy Center in Newport Beach, California, and instructor of pelvic physical health courses for the American Society of Physical Therapists.
Warm-up: Lie on your back to be sure that the back side of the pelvis has a full range of movement. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor. Keep your spine in a neutral position. Imagine that there is a clock on your lower abdomen, where 12 o'clock is at the bellybutton, 6 o'clock is at the top of the pubic bone and your hip bones are at 9 and 3.
The exercise: Bring the bellybutton down to the spine. This will make the "clock" tilt, down at the 12 position (bellybutton) and up at the 6 (pubic bone). Move your hip and pubic bones to rotate your clock to the side so that 3 o'clock hip is lower. Move around the clock, tilting the pelvis until the 6 o'clock position is lowest. Continue around the clock, hitting every number, until the 12 position is again the lowest position. Repeat two or three times, then reverse to repeat the cycle in the opposite direction, two or three times.
The routine: For healthy women without symptoms of pelvic floor impairment, the clocks should be done once per day to keep the pelvic girdle in shape. Those experiencing movement restrictions can try these two times per day (a.m. and p.m.).
Advanced: Vary up the routine each day: Try going from 1 o'clock to neutral, then 2 o'clock to neutral, and continuing like that around the clock. Wetzler suggests repeating one movement, such as 4 o'clock to 5 o'clock, five to six times "to really feel the pelvic activity."
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