Kegel exercise deals with strengthening this part of our bodies. Conscious contraction and relaxation of the pelvic-floor muscles buttress and beef them up for the edgy situations of the upcoming months. Your pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that form a small ‘sling or hammock’ that runs between your pubic bone in the front of your body to your tailbone (end of your spine) at the back. Strengthening these muscles helps you prevent urine leakage, prevent accidentally passing gas or poop and can even improve your orgasm.
Benefits Of Kegel Exercises
As with any other form of workout, kegel exercises have an overall positive impact on your body, life and lifestyle. However, a few spheres are benefitted in particular.
1. Treats Urinary & Faecal Incontinence
Weak muscles around the sphincter and anus lead to diminished bladder and bowel control. This may be a result of pregnancy, disease, accident or just a sudden weight gain splurge. Pelvic floor exercises help you strengthen these muscles so that you claim more control over your body.
2. Reduces Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)
In pelvic organ prolapse or POP, pelvic organs weigh down on the vaginal walls. This puts heavy pressure which disrupts your day to day life. Also, POP interferes with your bladder and bowel control and causes a fear of organs falling out. While lower intensity POP conditions can be cured by kegel exercises, they help with moderate intensity ones too.
3. Helps With After Effects Of Pregnancy
Pregnancy weakens your pelvic muscles. A normal vaginal delivery has worse effects than a caesarian. Though the muscles heal themselves, these exercises hasten the process. You can start with them just after the good news and let them continue until you are completely healthy, or maybe even after that!
4. Develops Back & Butt Muscles
The pelvic floor muscles, along with the diaphragm, multifidus and transversus abdominis, constitute the inner core. So, when doing those planks or lifting those 10kgs, why not move some other muscles too?
5. Restores Normalization After Menopause
Menopause means several unwanted changes in your body. It leads to hormonal imbalance which reduces blood circulation in the vaginal region. Kegel exercises help increase the blood flow in the area and enhance the flexibility of the muscles. This speeds up your comeback from this weird phase
6. Improves Your Sex Life
Increased blood circulation in the vaginal walls makes sex more pleasurable. Also, it gives you more power over the orgasms and their timing. The ability to control the pelvic floor muscles helps you tighten and loosen the walls up to a certain extent which means ecstasy for both parties! Also, if sex has lately (or always), been painful for you, these pelvic floor exercises can prove to be a decisive move shaping your intimate interactions. Moreover, kegel exercises help with vaginismus, a condition causing the vagina to involuntarily contract
Identification Of Kegel Muscles
Finding pelvic floor muscles can be gnarly. Many times, we confuse them with butt tissues or the abominable ones and wind up wasting weeks of our energy on the wrong body parts. So, for the sake of the economy, let’s start with locating the pelvic muscles we need to focus on.
A sure-shot way of going about with Kegels for women is to imagine that you are peeing; try to control it mid-process. Don’t try to stop pee. It may lead to severe urinary tract infections. If you have difficulty identifying the kegel muscles, you can try holding actual urine.
Also, you can put a finger inside your vagina and try to tighten your muscles around it. Squeezing the ones you use to restrict passing gas is a way too.
After having identified the pelvic floor muscles, you need to make sure that you don’t mistake your abdominal, butt or inner thigh muscles for it. To do this place a hand on your belly when squeezing the parts. If you feel it moving, you are on the wrong track. Repeat the process with a hand under your butt.
If you are still facing troubles, don’t hesitate to contact a healthcare professional.
Ways To Strengthen The Kegel Muscles
The best way to exercise your kegel muscles is to sit and squeeze them.
- Sit comfortably and focus on your kegel muscles
- Contract them slowly. Do not hold your breath while doing this
- Think of your vagina as a lift and try to go up. Remember that the stronger your muscles are, the higher it will go. Hold for 5-10 seconds
- Slowly exhale and release the muscles
- Try to do three sets each of 10-20 contractions and relaxations each day
You can club these long squeezes with short ones of a second or so to maximize the benefits.
Beginners must find a quiet spot and relax their minds while doing the sets. However, after some time, you can try installing them in your daily routine. A simple chore such as stirring the pan or reading or driving is a good time to perform this exercise if it doesn’t interrupt your daily tasks. Also, make sure to completely relax your muscles in the process.
The above kegel workout emphasizes the set of tissues in question. However, other such keep-fit options are available which strengthen your pelvic floor in the process.
Exercises For The Kegel Muscles
If you have ever tried strength-building exercises, there is no chance of not being familiar with squats. However, there is a correct way to go about it which is often overlooked.
- Stand straight with feet slightly more shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your knees and push your hips back as if sitting on a chair.
- See that your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Try to hold this position for a while with your breathing normal.
- Straighten yourself slowly.
Squats are one of the most trying and tiring pelvic floor exercises. Don’t push yourself to get past your limits. You need to let your body work at its pace. Beginners may also start by keeping their backs straight against a wall. After a while, you can go for weighted squats.
Bridges are great pelvic strengthening exercises. They work your pelvic floor muscles and build them up.
- Lie straight on the floor with your palms flat beside you.
- Raise your knees at 90 degrees so that your feet are pressed against the floor.
- When in position, raise your hips off the ground slowly to make a straight line down from knees to shoulder.
- Pause for a few seconds and then return to the original position.
- Complete a few repetitions, rest and then perform another set.
Mind that breathing should be normal the whole time.
3. Split Tabletop
This workout seemingly focused on the thigh has multiple benefits. In addition to exerting thighs and hips, splits turn out to be first-rate kegel pelvic floor exercises.
- Lie down on a mat.
- Raise your legs such that your shins are parallel to the ground and thighs perpendicular.
- Split your thighs slowly and as much as possible.
- Bring your legs together tracing the path back.
One thing to be kept in mind while doing a split tabletop is that you shouldn’t overwork yourself on the first day. Also, don’t rush about it. In case you can’t make time, keep the session short.
4. Bird Dog
The benefits of kegel exercises are not limited to abdominal, pelvic and thigh area. The bird dog training works your arms and also tones your shins although you must keep the body firm and focus on maintaining balance.
- Stand on your fours with back straight and neck neutral.
- Without moving your pelvis and shoulder, simultaneously raise your left leg and right arm.
- Hold this position for 2 seconds and then return to the original stance.
- Repeat with the other set of limbs.
While performing the above exercises, you should be conscious of the pelvic floor muscles. This will amplify the results. Also, pelvic floor workout takes a few weeks (or sometimes, even months) to deliver visible output. If in doubt, you can any day contact your doctor.
Pregnant women or the ones who are just done with childbirth should not go for such heavy physical training. Squeezing pelvic floor muscles proves to be the best kegel exercise after delivery.
- Kegel exercises work a woman’s pelvic floor muscles
- They help with urinary or faecal incontinence, POP, sexual problems or just improve your overall body health
- Spotting kegel tissues isn’t an easy task but can be done with a little guidance and maybe, healthcare personnel
- In addition to squeezing pelvic floor muscles, squats, bridges, split tabletop and dog bird training proves to be beneficial pelvic floor exercises
- Pregnant women should always go for squeezing of the kegel muscles
Although it is customary to go through urinary incontinence or sexual troubles after pregnancy, there are other run-of-the-mill reasons to do kegel exercise.
The first step towards healing is to accept the problem. Also, do not let any issue affect your personal, professional or social life. Remember that you are not alone in this. There have been men and women in the same muddle who have battled and defeated their problems. Acknowledge the issues, devise a plan and stick to it. You have got it.