You’ve probably casually read the term ‘Kegel exercises’ on a women’s health magazine before. Kegel exercises aren’t actually as complicated as the term sounds. They are one of the easiest ways to improve your vaginal and sexual health. They are a simple set of muscle clenching exercises that target your pelvic floor and lasts only around 30 seconds to 1 minute. You also don’t need any equipment for it.
Should I Do Kegel Exercises..
The primary goal of Kegel exercises is to strengthen the pelvic floor. So, what is this pelvic floor and why is it important? The pelvic floor is basically a wall of tissue between your hips that keep your organs (such as intestines, bladder, uterus, etc.) in place. When this tissue isn’t tight or is weak, there are several inconvenient health problems that could arise. The stronger the pelvic floor is, the better it will be at performing its structural role, keeping the organs in place.
It is also important to put effort into strengthening your pelvic floor muscles because it gets weaker over time, especially in women. The pelvic floor muscles become weaker after events like childbirth and weight gain. Even little things like coughing or sneezing too hard can push the pelvic floor down. It is also surprising to note that men can also suffer from weak pelvic floor muscles (though the issue isn’t as prevalent as in women). So, men can also benefit from Kegel exercises.
It’s not just embarrassing issues like incontinence that could result from weak pelvic floor muscles. If they become too weak, it can lead to a more serious issue called pelvic organ prolapse (POP). The pelvic or vaginal tissues will start to droop, and in extreme cases, will fall out of the vagina. This is especially risky after a procedure like a hysterectomy.
How To Perform Kegel Exercises..
Like stomach vacuums, Kegel exercises consist of squeezing in your pelvic floor muscles for as long as possible and then releasing it. As with most exercises, the idea is that repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles will help to strengthen them. To start, you can try holding in the muscles for around 5 seconds and releasing, then gradually increase the duration.
If you have trouble finding your pelvic floor muscles, you can try consciously stopping your urine flow halfway through. You can feel certain muscles ‘contracting’ or squeezing when you do this. These are your pelvic floor muscles that are needed to do this. Also, before doing any Kegels, you need to ensure that your bladder is empty. The exercises don’t work as well with a full bladder.
To perform Kegel exercises:
Find a position that’s comfortable for you, this could seated or standing. Ensure that you breathe normally while contracting your pelvic floor muscles. You also shouldn’t need to contract other muscles, such as glutes or inner thighs for this exercise. It should just be the pelvic floor muscles.
Hold on for a few seconds then release. Repeat as many times as you feel comfortable (say 5 sets with 3 seconds of contraction). You can also split this routine into morning and night while your brush your teeth, for example.