Are Kegel exercises worth your time? Absolutely! Kegel exercises are simple clench-and-release exercises that strengthen your pelvic floor, which is essential in supporting your bladder, bowels, and uterus. If you have issues with incontinence or a weak pelvic floor, Kegels can help you improve bladder and bowel control, especially after pregnancy and childbirth.
To start doing Kegels, you need to identify your pelvic floor muscles, which can be done by inserting a clean finger into your vagina or anus and squeezing the muscles. The exercise involves clenching and holding your pelvic muscles for three seconds, then releasing and relaxing them for three seconds. You should do up to 10-15 Kegel exercises three times a day.
Kegels offer several benefits, including treating incontinence, strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, and improving sexual function. If you have a weak pelvic floor, Kegels can help improve bladder and bowel control. People who give birth or are ageing are more likely to experience incontinence, but Kegels can help improve bladder control. A study found that Kegels after giving birth can help return the vaginal muscles to their original shape, which is essential for improving sexual function and reducing discomfort.
If you're considering Kegel exercises, remember to breathe, avoid contracting nearby muscles, and stick to a routine. You should also avoid doing too many Kegels, as it can cause you to strain when going to the bathroom.
How to do Kegel exercises
- Find the right muscles: To do kegels, you need to locate the muscles that control your pelvic floor. To do this, try to stop the flow of urine while you are urinating. The muscles you use to do this are the same ones that you need to strengthen with kegels.
- Start slowly: When you first start doing kegels, it's important to start slowly and build up over time. Begin by tightening your pelvic floor muscles for 3-5 seconds, then relax for the same amount of time. Repeat this 10 times, and do it at least three times a day.
- Increase intensity: As you get comfortable with kegels, you can increase the intensity of your contractions. Try holding the contraction for 10 seconds, then relaxing for 10 seconds. Repeat this 10 times, and do it at least three times a day.
- Don't overdo it: Like any exercise, it's important not to overdo it. Overdoing kegels can actually cause the opposite effect and weaken the pelvic floor muscles. Stick to a routine that is comfortable for you and gradually increase intensity over time.
- Incorporate into daily routine: One way to remember to do kegels is to incorporate them into your daily routine. For example, you can do them while brushing your teeth or waiting for the bus.
- Seek guidance: If you're unsure if you're doing kegels correctly, or if you're experiencing pelvic pain, it's important to seek guidance from a healthcare professional. They can assess your pelvic floor muscles and recommend exercises that are safe and effective for you.
It's also worth noting that Kegel exercises are safe for most people, but it's always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or underlying medical conditions. Additionally, while Kegels can be helpful for pelvic floor issues, they may not be effective for everyone and other treatment options may be necessary.
In conclusion, Kegel exercises can be a helpful tool for improving pelvic floor health, reducing incontinence, and improving sexual function. By following the proper technique and incorporating them into your daily routine, you may be able to see improvements in your overall pelvic health.