Kegel exercises are excellent for strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor is the area that controls the flow of urine and holds the pelvic organs in place. Doctors usually prescribe these types of exercises to strengthen pelvic weakness that often occurs after childbirth. To learn how to do these exercises and why it’s important, keep reading:
Why do Kegel Exercises?
There are a lot of reasons why women may need these exercises. Your pelvic floor muscles can become weakened by factors such as pregnancy and childbirth, surgery, being overweight, and aging. If you suffer from symptoms like leaking a few drops of urine when you sneeze, laugh, or cough, feeling a strong and sudden urge to urinate prior to expelling a large amount of urine (this is referred to as urine incontinence), or you leak stool (fecal incontinence), you may benefit from these exercises. For pregnant women and new mothers, Kegel exercises can be practiced during pregnancy and after childbirth to keep the pelvic floor consistently strong and to prevent urinary incontinence from developing. There is a limit to what you can and cannot do when pregnant, elderly, or overweight. These exercises are great across the board because they are low impact exercises that are incredibly effective.
How to do Kegel Exercises:
Kegel exercises are unique, so it may be difficult to identify your pelvic floor muscles as well as hone your exercise technique at first. To begin, you have to locate the correct muscles. Your pelvic floor muscles can be identified by doing this small practice: stop urination in midstream. If you can do this successfully, you’ve identified the right muscles. Wherever you feel pressure or a little strain, those muscles are a part of your pelvic floor.
Now that you’ve identified the correct muscles, make sure your bladder is empty before starting the exercise. When you’re good to go, lie on your back and begin tightening your pelvic floor muscles. Make sure to hold the contraction for at least five seconds, and then relax for five seconds. Work your way up to contracting and relaxing five times in a row. Each time you try contract your pelvic floor muscles, work on holding the contraction for another second each time and relaxing for an extra second.
Stay focused while you exercise. Do not tighten or flex the muscles in your abdomen, buttocks, or thighs. Also be sure to breathe freely as you contract and relax as proper breathing can make the exercises feel a little easier. Once you’ve got the hang of it, try to do ten repetitions at least three times throughout the day.
Only do Kegel exercises when your bladder is empty and you’re lying flat on your back. Never do them while emptying your bladder because this can actually weaken the pelvic floor muscles and cause urinary tract infections. Kegel exercises, like most other exercise routines, are most effective when done regularly. Keep up the routine in order reduce muscle weakness and build a sturdy pelvic floor.