Kegel exercises are commonly discussed these days, but what are they?
Kegel exercises are often recommended for toning the pelvic floor muscles. Strengthening your pelvic floor can have a myriad of positive effects on your health, comfort, and self-confidence.
What are the benefits of doing Kegel exercises?
Kegel exercises are helpful for men and women alike, and are especially valuable if you are experiencing the effects of aging, have an overactive bladder, have been treated for prostate cancer, are pregnant, or have given birth. Kegel exercises are helpful for people who experience stress incontinence, or the inability to fully control bowel movements or the flow of urine. If sneezing, coughing, or laughing leads to an unwanted release of urine, then Kegel exercises may be beneficial for you.
For women, Kegel exercises help support the bladder and uterus, especially during pregnancy and after childbirth. Pelvic floor muscles may become strained during pregnancy, which can lead to uterine prolapse. Pregnancy can also put extra strain on the bladder sphincter, which controls the flow of urine. Kegel exercises can prevent, reduce, and reverse some of these symptoms.
For men who have had their prostate removed, performing Kegel exercises is essential. There are many muscles situated around the prostate, and those can become weakened after treatment for prostate cancer or a prostatectomy.
Besides preventing negative symptoms associated with some conditions, Kegel exercises can also improve your love life. Kegel exercises improve circulation to the sex organs, which can help to treat sexual dysfunction for men and women. Kegel exercises can also prevent premature ejaculation by giving men better control over when they ejaculate. For women, Kegel exercises strengthen the muscles in the vagina, and allow for stronger muscle contractions during orgasm.
How do you perform Kegel exercises?
There are many variations and postures that can be used to perform Kegel exercises. Below is the basic method:
1. Next time you use the restroom, practice stopping and starting your urine flow. Do this a few times so that you are sure that you can engage the target muscle group. Note that you do not have to do Kegel exercises in the restroom. Once you are proficient in isolating the muscle group, you may perform these exercises at any time and in any place.
2. Once you have established how to engage the pelvic floor muscles, tighten and hold the muscles for a span of five seconds.
3. Relax the muscles. One cycle of tightening and relaxing is one Kegel exercise. 10-20 of these exercises three to four times per day will yield good results.
Remember that this is just like any other type of exercise. When you begin, you may find it difficult, or you may not be able to do as many reps. Be patient and don’t give up! Eventually you will build the strength required to complete all the exercises, and you will start to reap the benefits.
Kegel exercises in practice, a case study
The following describes one woman’s week to week experience after beginning to practice Kegel exercises. The subject did not suffer from incontinence, but she did have an overactive bladder.
The first week of performing Kegel exercises required extra time and effort. She set aside time to do her Kegel exercises as part of her daily wellness routine because it was difficult at first. Just like working out any muscle group, she experienced soreness a few days into her routine.
In the second week, soreness disappeared, and she found that it was easier to contract the pelvic floor muscles.
The subject felt that her pelvic floor was stronger. The exercises became easier for her to perform.
After one month, the woman noticed a decrease in the frequency and urgency of her restroom breaks thanks to her Kegel exercises.
Should you start a Kegel workout routine?
Whether you are someone with a health concern such as stress incontinence due to aging, prostatectomy, or childbirth, you have an overactive bladder, or you are looking to improve your love life, Kegel exercises can be beneficial for you. Starting the routine will be the most difficult part, but once you establish muscle memory, these exercises will become second-nature to you. One may expect to experience some of the benefits of Kegel exercises in as little as one month. Kegel exercises cost you nothing, but can have huge positive effects on your quality of life.