If there is an exercise that you can do without having to go to the gym or buy any equipment, which has physical and possibly even sexual benefits, you would probably do it every day.
One such exercise is the Kegels, which helps to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. People also call it the invisible exercise, because you can do it discreetly, whether sitting at a desk or relaxing on the couch. While Kegels are great exercise to do during and after pregnancy, one can do it anytime and anywhere.
Learn more about Kegel exercises, their benefits, who should do them, and how you can add them to your daily routine.
Understanding Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises help strengthen the muscles in your pelvic area. It involves tightening and then relaxing your pelvic and genital muscles. A pelvic floor is a group of muscles that acts like a hammock, holding the organs in place.
Doing these exercises regularly can strengthen the muscles under your uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum. In short, Kegel exercises are a way to tone the muscles in your pelvic area.
Benefits of Kegel Exercises for Men and Women
The Kegel exercise was developed in the 1940s to help women prevent urine leakage. In addition, it improves bladder control during pregnancy or after childbirth.
A study showed that Kegel exercises also help treat urinary or stress incontinence. It is a condition when a small amount of urine is released when coughing, sneezing, or laughing. Kegel exercises can also help strengthen the rectal muscles to prevent faecal incontinence.
Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition where the uterus, urethra, or bowel sag down into the vagina. It often results from vaginal delivery. Kegels can provide enough support and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles as part of a treatment plan.
Kegel exercises can also be beneficial for men. By strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, men can help manage prostate pain and swelling caused by prostatitis and benign prostatic hyperplasia. In addition, it can also improve men’s sexual health.
Steps to Do Kegel Exercises for Men and Women
Find the Right Muscles
The first step is finding the right muscles to exercise. There are several ways you can identify which muscles to target during your workout routine. If you’re having trouble finding the right muscles after trying different techniques, your healthcare provider can help you locate them.
Below are some techniques you can try.
- Pretend to tighten your vagina around a tampon.
- Pretend you are trying to hold in gas
- While urinating, stop urination in midstream
- Pretend you are trying to hold in gas
Find a comfortable position to lie in. Start by contracting your pelvic floor muscles until you feel them engage. Make sure not to lift your pelvis or contract your abdominal, leg, and buttock muscles. Once you have the hang of it, gradually increase the length of each contraction and relaxation. Aim to do 30 to 40 repetitions daily, but spread them out throughout the day instead of doing them all at once.
Here are a few Kegel exercise routines to try:
- Tighten your pelvic floor muscles and hold them for ten seconds. Then relax for a few seconds before repeating.
- Quickly squeeze and relax the pelvic floor muscles multiple times in a row.
- A simple beginner technique is to tighten the muscles for about three seconds, relax for three seconds, and repeat.
- It’s best to start slowly and increase the intensity as your muscles get stronger.
The HealthifyMe Note
When you do Kegel exercises, you strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. It helps you to relax and control these muscles, which is essential for pregnancy and childbirth. Doing the exercises correctly can also help prevent the uterus, bladder, and bowel from sagging into the vagina. However, like any other type of exercise, you must do them regularly and correctly to see results. Kegels are also convenient because you can do them anytime and anywhere without anyone knowing.
Essential Tips of Kegel Exercise
After you have located the muscles you need to engage, you can perform the exercise in any position you prefer. You should start by lying down, but once you are more comfortable with the exercise, feel free to try it while sitting, standing, or in any other position. It will help you to achieve optimal results.
Some other tips to follow are:
- Ensure you do not bear down or squeeze other muscles like the inner thighs, stomach, back, buttocks, and legs. Squeezing them means you are not doing the Kegel exercise correctly. Instead, place a hand on your belly to keep track of this.
- Make sure you do not overexert your pelvic muscles. It can lead to impairment in everyday functioning.
- Don’t continue to use Kegels to stop your urination midstream. It will only lead to a urinary tract infection.
- When starting, begin with five Kegels for three seconds each twice a day. Once you build up your strength and endurance, you can also increase the duration and repetitions.
- Keep breathing! The most important thing is not to hold your breath while contracting your pelvic muscles. Instead, keep breathing throughout your sets.
Kegel exercises are exercises that help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These exercises can benefit people of all ages and help reduce the risk of urinary and faecal incontinence.
The exercises are easy, but you must ensure you engage the right muscles. You should try to do Kegel exercises every day. If you are having trouble doing the exercises, you should ask for help from a healthcare provider.