Most people have heard of Kegel exercises, but not many know what they are or how to do them. They can improve many areas of your life, and you’ll be glad you learned about them. Once you know how easy they are, you’ll want to do them daily.
Kegel exercises help strengthen the muscles on your pelvic floor. Stronger pelvic muscles improve bladder control, relieve pain, and increase sexual function. Many people believe that these exercises are for women, but men can benefit, too.
A gynecologist in the 1950s developed this exercise concept to help people with urinary incontinence. However, many other benefits have been found since then, making it more popular in current times. This exercise takes less than a few minutes, and you don’t have to go anywhere to do them.
The pelvic floor holds up the pelvic organs, preventing leakage and pain. The organs include the uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum, making it essential to take care of. Once you know what the exercises can do for you, you’ll want to do them whenever you can.
The Importance of Kegel Exercises
Many life experiences can weaken your pelvic floor. If you’ve experienced pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, aging, or excessive straining, it could pose a problem. The straining can occur because of constipation or chronic coughing, and being overweight can contribute, too.
You can benefit from these exercises if you experience any of the following issues:
- Leaking a little urine when laughing, coughing, or sneezing
- Having a sudden, strong urge to urinate without warning
- Leaking stool
- Inability to hold gas
- Pelvic organ prolapse, or herniation that leads to the collapse and protruding of vaginal walls
If you don’t have any of these issues, you can still do the exercise. It isn’t harmful, and it can prevent these situations from occurring in the first place. Please don’t neglect your pelvic floor muscles because you haven’t had issues yet because it’s best not to deal with the problems at all.
Benefits of Performing Kegel Exercises
With a weak pelvic floor, you can suffer from medical problems. The conditions include urine or fecal leakage, pain in your lower back, pelvis, or genitals, and pain during intercourse. However, doing Kegel exercises can help you build stronger pelvic muscles and treat or prevent these issues.
These exercises are popular because they can be done anytime, even during pregnancy or right after childbirth. Doing them during pregnancy can prepare the body for labor and prevent urine leakage common in the third trimester. Regularly doing them can quickly improve your symptoms and allow you to return to normal sooner.
This exercise tightens the muscles, increasing blood flow and supporting a healthy sex life for both men and women. Studies show that men who have erectile dysfunction regain normal functioning after doing it for six months.
While most people exercise to improve their appearance, this activity won’t do that but is just as important. You don’t want to lack support and suffer from incontinence forever. If you’re going to live everyday life without worrying about leakage, it’s time to get started.
However, you must find your pelvic floor to ensure you’re doing the exercise properly before getting started. Pelvic-floor exercises are simple enough, but only if you know which muscles to use.
How to Find Your Pelvic Floor
Finding your pelvic floor is essential before beginning the exercise. It won’t help you if you aren’t using the correct muscles. Many people mistakenly use their abdominal, buttock, or inner thigh muscles, hindering their results.
It’s easiest to find your pelvic floor while you’re urinating because you can feel the muscles contract. Stop and start the flow of your urine so that you can identify which muscles to use during the exercise. However, please don’t do this multiple times, or it can lead to an infection.
It doesn’t usually take more than one instance of stopping and starting the urine flow to find the correct muscles. Another option for finding them is to pretend to hold gas in and identify the strengths. Women can also pretend to tighten their vagina around a tampon to locate the pelvic floor.
All of these actions use the same muscles that you use to stop and start your urine flow, so any of them will work. The correct muscles produce a contraction more towards the back of the pelvic than the front.
How to Do Kegel Exercises
You can do these exercises in any position, but most people prefer to lie down and do them until they’re comfortable. Once you get the hang of contracting the pelvic floor muscles, you can do the exercise while sitting or standing anywhere. To get started, do the following:
- Contract your pelvic floor muscles and hold them for three to five seconds
- Relax for three to five seconds
- Repeat the cycle ten times before stopping
While you contract your pelvic floor muscles, make sure to keep your other muscles relaxed. An easy mistake is to tighten your abdominal, thigh, or buttock muscles, so focus on contracting only the pelvic floor muscles. It might help if you keep your hand on your stomach so that you know if you’re contracting other muscles.
As time goes on, you can extend the duration of your exercise. Start by gradually increasing the length of contractions and relaxations, working your way up to ten seconds.
You’ll get the most benefits from doing at least 30 to 40 Kegel exercises each day. Spread them throughout the day to give your muscles rest in between. You can do them while waiting in the car, standing in line, or riding an escalator.
When to Do Kegel Exercises
You can do these exercises any time of the day, no matter where you are. They are discreet, so no one will notice that you’re doing them. It’s best to do them multiple times a day, so try to develop a schedule.
You might want to start your day with exercise, and you can do that while you do your hair or take a shower. Additionally, you can implement them into your regular exercise routine. You can also do them whenever you have a few minutes of wait time in your day.
It’s a good idea to do them as you sit at your desk or relax on the couch, too. When you make it a point to utilize these times for the exercise, you’ll quickly experience the benefits. With regular exercise, you’ll notice improvements in as little as a few weeks, but it could be a couple of months. Everyone is different, and it all depends on how well you do them and how often.
What to Do If You Struggle with the Exercise
While Kegels are usually easy, some people struggle to do them correctly. Don’t give up if you can’t find the right muscles or can’t keep your other muscles relaxed. Your doctor can help you figure it out and give you tips for doing them correctly.
Additionally, you can use tools to help you get it right, including vaginal cones. Vaginal cones are weights women can place in their vagina and use their pelvic muscles to hold it in place. Eventually, they won’t need the cone anymore because they’ll learn to use the correct muscles.
A tool that works for men and women is biofeedback. When using biofeedback, your doctor inserts a pressure sensor into the vagina or rectum. Then, the patient will squeeze and relax the pelvic floor muscles while the pressure sensor measures activity.
Biofeedback can help you determine if you’re using the correct muscles. It also has electrical stimulation to recreate the sensation of the exercise. This process enables you to get it right, allowing you to do the workout anywhere you are.
This exercise is generally safe, but there are always potential complications. You must be careful of a few things during your exercise routine, including:
- Avoid Kegels while you urinate. Although you stop and start your stream to find the muscle, you only want to do it once. Otherwise, it can cause a urinary tract infection. It can also cause your pelvic floor to weaken and cause bladder and kidney damage.
- Please don’t overdo it when you contract your muscles. If you do, it could lead to straining when using the bathroom and pain during sexual intercourse.
- Don’t stop doing the exercises, or your symptoms can quickly return. You’ll likely need to do it for the rest of your life.
- Using the correct muscles is essential. Otherwise, it can worsen symptoms and cause pelvic organ prolapses and stress incontinence.
Final Thoughts on How to Do Kegel Exercises for Stronger Pelvic Muscles
With consistency, Kegel exercises will become a positive part of your life. You’ll notice an improvement in incontinence, sexual health, and a decrease in pelvic pain. Men and women can benefit from this exercise, making it essential to learn.
While finding your pelvic floor might make you uncomfortable, you’ll be glad you did it. The exercise can be life-changing, and you’ll be happy about your strengthened pelvic floor muscles.