Kegel Exercises: Benefits, Goals, and Cautions
Did you ever wet your bed as a kid? It is a relatively common occurrence not only in childhood but in adulthood as well. Over 60% of women over the age of 60 experience daily urinary incontinence.
Why? Due to poor pelvic muscle strength.
Pelvic muscles are a group of muscles that attach to the bottom of the pelvis and sacrum from the front, back, and sides. If you are suffering from something similar firstly there is nothing to be ashamed of and secondly, it is a rather common occurrence and the best remedy to this condition is Kegel exercises.
What are Kegel Exercises?
Your trainer can help you with other muscles but for pelvic muscle strength, you have to master the art of kegel exercise.
So what is it? If you try to hold your bowel or try to stop your urine midstream, the group of muscles that come into play are the pelvic muscles.
They act like a hammock that slings from front to back. The main pelvic muscles are the Ischiocavernosus muscle (IC) & Bulbocavernosus muscle (BC).
These are responsible for sexual stimulation along with the Pubococcygeus muscle (PC) that helps to hold the pelvic organs as well as control the flow of urine. Just like you have crunches for abs, kegel exercises have been designed to strengthen the pelvic muscles.
Why do Kegel Exercises?
Weakness in pelvic muscles can lead to accidental defecation during passing wind or sexual intercourse. In females, it can be caused by pregnancy, parturition, obesity or age-related issues while for men it is mostly due to poor muscle tone in aged individuals.
These exercises are known to prevent the sagging down of the uterus, bladder and bowel into the vagina. This condition is termed vaginal prolapse. It also improves sexual performance in both men and women.
Pelvic Floor Exercises for Men and Women
Imagine you want to get abs but you are practising squats.
It won’t serve the purpose right? Similarly for Kegels, you need to understand which muscles to strengthen.
Think about how you would avoid passing gas or imagine that you are tightening your vagina around a tampon.
Try to stop your wind or urine midstream. The muscles that contract are the ones you need to work on.
To perform the exercise you need to contract for 3 sec, followed by relaxing for 3 sec. This is counted as a single cycle. The cycles are to be repeated 10 times which counts as a set. With practice, you can hold it for 10 secs and have 3 sets per day. It is advised to start in a lying down position. You can, later on, shift to standing or sitting positions as well.
Also Check: Tabata vs. HIIT: What’s the Difference?
Goals and Benefits of Kegel exercises
Still getting trolled for farting out loud?
Want to avoid urine leaks during pregnancy or menopause?
Worried about vaginal prolapse?
Want a better orgasm and a healthier sex life?
Want a smooth natural delivery without chances of complications?
If your answer is yes to any of the above problems, this is your turn to try it out for yourself.
1. The last few drops
It is not recommended to do Kegels while urinating, as your bladder may not be completely empty afterwards. The result can be a urinary tract infection. You can do it after you’re done urinating to empty the bladder..
2. Focus on just the pelvic floor muscles
Do not squeeze your abdomen, stomach and thighs. Just focus on the pelvic muscles,
3. Don’t hold your breath
Most of the time complications occur due to tension or holding your breath.
4. Stop if you experience pain
If you experience pain while performing the exercise, you might be doing it wrong.
5. Don’t Overdo it
Also Read: Body Recomposition: Lose Fat and Gain Muscle
So take charge of your daily life. Do not suffer due to ignorance. Practice these exercises and seek medical help if the situation doesn’t improve.
How can I tighten my pelvic floor muscles fast?
How hard should you squeeze when doing Kegels?
Gently squeeze your buttocks along with the forward movement of the pelvic floor.
How far do you insert a Kegel?
Most of us have heard of kegel exercises but are not that well-versed in the idea of kegel weights. Just like you have weights to strengthen your abs or biceps, these are light weights that you insert inside your vagina and hold it for about 15 min, while you do light work. Insert the balls connected by string one by one till you are comfortable and try to stand up.
How long do you hold your Kegels?
Ideally, you should contract for 3 – 5 secs followed by 3-5 sec of relaxation period. This cycle is to be repeated 10 times.
How many Kegels should I do a day?
Doctors recommend 10-15 cycles per day. Do not try to perform it during urinating.