Category Archives: Menopause

Mel Collie | Effective abdominal exercise you probably aren’t doing…

Mel Collie | Effective abdominal exercise you probably aren’t doing…

Sit ups are popular if you are after an abdominal exercise, and thats ok, as long as your lower back and neck aren’t doing the actual sit up work for you and you are also doing other stuff as well, like rotational exercises for example, power lives in rotation if its a great midsection you are after…however, the most repetitive exercise you do, every day, is breathing, the overlooked muscles, the diaphragm, is a major part of your core, and if your aren’t breathing well, you are using your neck muscles, which means your inner core stabilising system is well and truly on holiday…

How to use your breath effectively

Practice – lie on your front, gently allow the lower belly to press into the floor as you breathe in

This can be very tricky for some of us, as we are told to pull our bellies in all the time to create a look of having a flatter belly, when in fact what this does it to encourage breathing into the neck and chest…I’m guessing they are tight enough from sitting at a computer all day or driving for a living, or watching TV most evenings. Your shoulders don’t need any more tension.

So, when you exhale, the lower belly will come back by its own elasticity.

You may feel light headed and dizzy. The brain may not be used to having as much oxygen as you are now taking in, because you have been a shallow breather for a while. You may also find that your blood pressure and heartbeat come back to a normal range for a human being.

How does that diaphragm move?

When you exhale, it relaxes upwards, like an umbrella, pushing out the used air into the lungs, this is why, an exhalation, when lobber than the inhalation, allows oxygen to be pushed into the blood supple.

When you inhale, the diaphragm contracts, it collapses downwards.

If this is the first time you are practicing this with awareness, its better done lying down, so you don’t also have to consider posture as well. Practice it for one repetition before you get out of bed,and before you go to sleep

Just 1 rep?

Yes…just one – if I ask you to try it for a minute x 4 a day, you might do that for a couple of days, then forget, because life takes over and practicing breathing may not seem so important to you when the kids are screaming and you’ve got the shopping to do , the dinner to cook and the house to clean.

1 rep is doable.

Then it becomes a habit.

You will naturally do a few more when the times right.

The benefits, apart from a healthier heart, better nourishment from your nutrition, reduced anxiety and stress, better abdominal connection which can help pelvic floor and ab tone, reduced back pain and better movement in the ribs…are many..

But you know what..its up to you. I’ve realised that you can’t tell someone to do something, but you can help someone who asks, who wants to change, who changes by trying something out themselves.



Mel Collie | Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

Mel Collie | Pelvic Floor Dysfunction?

If you were watching daytime ITV last week, you would have witnessed a conversation on Loose Women about weak pelvic floor and leaking.

It wasn’t discussed in a manner that was very helpful to other women who find this embarrassing or want to stop this happening, but don’t know where to begin, who still believe squeezing and core exercises are the way to go for a”strong” pelvic floor.

A strong or weak pelvic floor can leak. A weak strong (yes, your muscles can be both) pelvic floor can be “tight” because its working for other muscles , and if its doing the work of other muscles, its exhausted (weak), and does not need any further strengthening without the other muscles its compensating for being strengthened first. For example, the glutes, external hip rotators or inner thigh muscles could be unorganised, which is another way of saying they aren’t working in harmony with the other muscles in the movement chain, maybe because of an injury, a scar- which can inhibit other muscles working well, or just sitting for a living

So, if you are doing pelvic floor exercises and they aren’t working, stop,it isn’t you, and you aren’t doing anything wrong, have a go at doing something else instead.

Heres 2 things you could start to work on instead:

  1. Awareness of your jaw clenching throughout the day. The jaw and pelvic floor fascia is connected, but the brain can also make the connection to use the jaw for strength, especially when during childbirth you clenched your jaw , the connection between that and pelvic floor contraction and relaxation was made in your brain – what gets fired together gets wired together…Clench your jaw, is your pelvic floor more toned when that happens? If it is, you cant walk around with a clenched jaw all day…or, maybe you have..
  2. Breathing. Its becoming more commonly known now, thankfully, that proper breathing using the diaphragm rather than the upper chest and shoulders can improve intra-abdominal pressure, thus improving pelvic floor tone , that doesn’t especially mean making a strong pelvic floor weak or strong, but making it work in tune with the other abdominal muscles and diaphragm, so they all work well together, they are more organised. Slow breathing can be practiced before you get out of bed in the morning and when you get into bed at night, in the bath or any other quiet moment to yourself – you need about 60 seconds each time to practice at first. Allowing the exhalation to be a little bit longer than the inhalation , as this is when the oxygen enters the blood cells. Always be aware you practice breathing without clenching the jaw, for me, who has a busy mind, this is the tricky bit, I clench my jaw often, but, with awareness, thats reducing and pelvic floor function has improved.If you find you would rather practice diaphragm breathing on your front, you cn do this too, some clients find this easier, as you are sing the surface your lower abdominals are resting on as feedback , breathing into your lower belly as your press it into the floor, exhaling as it gently lifts away from the floor. always aware the jaw is relaxed, the face soft, the shoulders down your back and glutes relaxed, no tense.

Practicing these 2 very simple free techniques 2 – 4 times a day, will see you get very fast and lasting results, it may, like me, make you aware of how much the jaw clenches, how much stress you can have in your life, even when you think you don’t, how much control you think you have and how surprised you will be when you see how everyday life affects your inner self.


Mel Collie

Neuro Kinetic Therapist

Assessments and treatments from Portreath, Cornwall, UK

Pilates Classes and 1:1 personal training




Mel Collie | My Osteopenia Story


Mel Collie | My Osteopenia Story

When I was in my late 30’s, I thought I was pregnant, went to the Drs for a test, they told me, after a blood test, that I was going through an early menopause…at the time, I wasn’t happy, I felt that I was then left on the shelf with the possibility of having any kids taken away from me.

I was always a bit late in my decision making, so maybe I should’ve had them earlier, but I hadn’t met “Mr. Right” (whoever that is!)

So, after a bone scan, which they decided was best due to my age and the changes the body makes at that time in your life, it turned out my lower back showed signs of Osteopenia.
Me being me, I researched that…(more books and courses…!)

It’s not fatal and you can get better!

I changed my diet from this:

white bread
coffee(lots of espressos and sugar)
jacket potatoes

to this:
green twice a day (kale, watercress, spinach, savoy cabbage, cauliflower)
cheese – goats/sheeps/buffalo mozarella(easier to digest than cows)
bread – soda(easier to digest) but less of it, not everyday
herbal tea – gross – I thought – but loved peppermint , didn’t like the fruit ones. Tulsi Tea is awesome for relaxing stressed people(me!)
sweet potatoes (doesn’t raise blood sugar as much as white)
gluten free pasta

Yes, it wasn’t that hard actually. I had a realisation that hit home.

I could either be depressed about it and get worse or realise the truth, step up and get on with it, change some things and have a healthier future.

I chose the latter.
It took time though!

But I got there. I found better ways to cook veggies that I liked, because as a child I hated them!
I used to sit at that dinner table for hours until the plate was empty or Mum told me to get out of her sight 🙂

I now have more raw salads, spinach and watercress daily, green beans are a favourite, especially with a shepherds or cottage pie(made with sweet potatoes as a topping is lovely!)

Is prevention better than cure? Maybe..but sometimes you’ve got to have that wake up call before you do anything about it.

Have you had a wake up call? what was your reaction?

You know what? just be kind to yourself.

Thats the best thing you can ever do ..for you, it helps the inner you calm down, restore replenish, make better choices, and it has a knock on effect to those around you too. And thats always a good thing.

Mel Collie

Mel Collie | What happens when you beat yourself up

Mel Collie | What happens when you beat yourself up

Don’t know about you, but I’m so guilty of this, I’m always beating myself up, telling myself off for not doing something or doing it incorrectly, making mistakes, a constant conversation with myself in my head.

So, what does it mean though and how can you see it for what it is?

Well, here’s the thing, it just means that you are living in the past, all the time, not liking yourself for something you didn’t do or say, it is a waste of energy when you look at it don’t you think? Energy you could be using to change what happened and move on.

Yep. Move on.

Accept it.

You might do it again, you might not.

I use those mistakes as lessons. All lessons are good ones. Stress is a way of you understanding you are doing stuff thats too much for you right now, stuff you don’t like, don’t enjoy or feel pressure.

Sometimes its good stress, it can motivate you, get you moving forward, meeting deadlines.

Other times we don’t know how to switch off, keep on taking more on until we can’t take it, it can be something simple that makes you flip.

Release it and feel a lot more freedom. See stress as your friend, not your enemy.

This gives you space to follow where and what you want to be. No ones judging you, you only think they are, when really, your worst critic is in your head.

So next time you catch yourself beating yourself up, giving yourself  hard time ..ask yourself a couple of questions.


Are those berating thoughts you are having absolutely true?

Who would you be without those thoughts?


Just answering those 2 questions can start a little shard of realisation in your brain.

Enjoy the journey




p.s. I thank Byron Katie and her Work for those questions, I use them everyday, and also on my 1:1 clients

p.p.s Drink Tulsi Tea, its a wonderful, kind of magical  herb (Holy Basil) from India that helps calm and relax you, get it from the health food shop before the government find out and make it illegal (only kidding..)