If there’s one exercise you can do without having to go to the gym or buy equipment that has physical and maybe even sexual benefits, you’d probably do it every day.
One such exercise is Kegels, which helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. People also call it the invisible exercise because you can do it discreetly whether you’re sitting at a desk or relaxing on the couch. Although Kegels are a great exercise to do during and after pregnancy, it can be done 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 region. This 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 region.
Benefits of Kegel exercises for men and women
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 have shown that Kegel exercises also help treat urinary or stress incontinence. It is a condition when a small amount of urine is released while coughing, sneezing or laughing. Kegel exercises can also help strengthen rectal muscles to prevent fecal incontinence.
Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition in which the uterus, urethra, or bowel collapse into the vagina. It often results from vaginal delivery. Kegels can provide ample 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. Besides, it can also improve men sexual health.
Steps to Do Kegel Exercises for Men and Women
Find the right muscles
The first step is to find the right muscles to exercise. There are several ways to identify which muscles to target during your workout routine. If you have trouble finding the right muscles after trying different techniques, your healthcare provider can help you locate them.
Here are some techniques you can try.
- Pretend to tighten your vagina around a tampon.
- Pretend to try to hold gas
- While urinating, stop urinating halfway
- Pretend to try to hold gas
Find a comfortable position to lie down. Begin by contracting your pelvic floor muscles until you feel them engage. Be sure not to lift your pelvis or contract your abdominal, leg and gluteal muscles. Once you get the hang of it, gradually increase the duration of each contraction and release. Aim to do 30-40 reps a day, but spread them out throughout the day instead of doing them all at once.
Here are some Kegel exercise routines to try:
- Contract the 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 several times in a row.
- A simple technique for beginners 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.
Note from The Fitness Freak
When you do Kegel exercises, you strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. It helps you relax and control those muscles, which is essential for pregnancy and childbirth. Doing the exercises correctly can also help prevent the uterus, bladder, and bowel from collapsing into the vagina. However, like any other type of exercise, you need to do them consistently and correctly to see results. Kegels are also convenient because you can do them anytime and anywhere without anyone knowing.
Kegel Exercise Essential Tips
Once you locate the muscles you need to engage, you can perform the exercise in whatever position you prefer. You should start by lying down, but once you’re more comfortable with the exercise, feel free to try it while sitting, standing, or any other position. It will help you achieve optimal results.
Here are some other tips to follow:
- Be sure not to press or squeeze other muscles like your inner thighs, stomach, back, buttocks, and legs. Squeezing them means you are not doing the Kegel exercise correctly. Instead, place a hand on your stomach to keep track of this.
- Make sure you don’t overwork your pelvic muscles. This can lead to impaired daily functioning.
- Don’t keep using Kegels to stop your urination mid-stream. This will only lead to a urinary tract infection.
- At first, start with five Kegels for three seconds each twice a day. Once you’ve built up your strength and endurance, you can also increase the duration and reps.
- 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 strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor. These exercises can benefit people of all ages and help reduce the risk of urinary and fecal incontinence.
The exercises are easy, but you need to make sure you engage the right muscles. You should try to do Kegel exercises every day. If you are having difficulty doing the exercises, you should seek help from a health care provider.