The word alone can cause a girl to giggle. But Kegels are no laughing matter. These exercises effectively strengthen the pelvic floor and the benefits are far reaching. After all, this is one muscle you want to give a workout, especially if you want to keep certain bodily functions under control.
Benefits of Kegel Exercises
Many factors, such as pregnancy, childbirth, being overweight and aging, can weaken the pelvic muscles and cause health problems. Kegel exercises help prevent your pelvic organs from bulging into your vagina, which can cause pelvic pressure and urine leakage.
Giving birth to a baby, especially vaginally, can take its toll on your sex life because of all the stretching your vagina had to do. However, Kegels can get your body feeling better than ever. In fact many women report an even better sex life after they start doing Kegel exercises.
Best of all, Kegel exercises can be done anywhere - while you're at work, watching TV, on the computer, eating dinner or even while driving to work. You can do them discreetly without anyone knowing.
You don't need any equipment at all. Of course, there are devices called Kegel exercisers available on the market that claim to make your exercises even more effective, but in reality, these aren't required.
How to Do Kegel Exercises
If you are new to Kegel exercises, it can be a little nerve-wracking at first when you try to find the right muscles and worry about whether or not you are doing the exercises correctly. Just relax and follow these tips.
First, you need to find the correct pelvic floor muscles. This isn't necessarily for the faint of heart. To do so, place a finger inside your vagina and see if you can squeeze the muscles around it. While squeezing, you should feel your pelvic floor move up and your vagina tighten. Next, relax the muscles and feel your pelvis move back to where it was originally.
Another trick is to stop your urine flow while urinating. If you can do that, then you've got the basic exercise down. However, don't regularly do Kegels on a full bladder or while emptying a full bladder. This can actually have the opposite effect causing weaker pelvic floor muscles and urinary tract infections.
Now that you have found the right muscles, you need to practice. Remember, practice makes perfect. Lie or sit down, contract your pelvic muscles, hold for 5 seconds, then relax for 5 seconds. Repeat this several times. When you feel comfortable, try to contract your muscles and hold for 10 seconds.
Your goal should be 10 repetitions several times a day. This may seem like a lot, but remember, Kegel exercises can be done easily whenever you are doing most activities. You can do them while eating, driving, playing on the computer or watching TV.
Kegels for men?
Although Kegel exercises are typically geared toward women, men can benefit from Kegels as well. For men who have problems with premature ejaculation or sexual performance, doing Kegels regularly can help men last longer and maintain a firmer erection.
Because the pelvic muscles in men control the flow of semen and urine, strengthening them can help men last longer and have better sex for many years to come. It's the best thing they can do for their sexual well-being, and it will result in more pleasure for their partner as well.
For men, the easiest way to find their pelvic muscles is to try to stop the flow of urine while urinating. Another way, though less desirable, is to insert a finger into the anus and contract the muscles until the anus tightens. Once the muscles are found, it is critical to make sure the right ones are always being tightened.
What Not to Do
Now that you know how to do Kegel exercises, here are some things you should avoid doing:
- Don't flex the muscles in your thighs, stomach or butt. Make sure that your focus is only on your pelvic floor muscles.
- Do not hold your breath or force yourself to breathe. You should breathe regularly.
- Don't do Kegels when you are trying to concentrate on something, such as learning a new task at work or at school. You may lose your concentration.
- Don't overdo it. Too-frequent Kegel exercise sessions can cause soreness. You need time to rest, especially in the beginning, when your body is still not used to the new routine.
When You Need Help
Although many women are able to do Kegels, some women need a little more help. If that's the case with you, don't worry. Ask your doctor for feedback to ensure that you strengthen the right muscles.
Some doctors can help you through biofeedback. A small probe is inserted into the vagina by your doctor and electrodes are placed around the vaginal or anal area. A monitor will show you if you are contracting the right pelvic muscles, as well as the length of time you are holding each contraction.
In rare cases, your doctor may recommend electric stimulation. Your doctor will apply a small electrical current to the muscles in your pelvic floor. The current causes your muscles to contract and produces a buzzing sensation. After this is replicated many times, you get used to the sensation and are eventually able to do Kegel exercises on your own.
Just like anything, don't expect overnight results. If you do your Kegel exercises regularly, you should expect results within 8-12 weeks. Some women simply do Kegels to keep their health problems from getting worse, but others see dramatic results.
However, once you see improvement, you should not discontinue the routine. Doing Kegels permanently will ensure that you do not see any decrease in the performance of your pelvic floor muscles.
Doing Kegel exercises has many benefits, especially in terms of sexual performance for both men and women. They're an easy way to make dramatic improvements to your health. Doing Kegels may be a little difficult at first, but in a short amount of time, you will be a pro. Incorporate Kegels into your exercise routine today and feel the difference. It's one move you won't mind doing.