Kegel exercise, also known as pelvic floor exercises, are a set of exercises designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These exercises were developed by Dr. Arnold Kegel in the 1940s and are often recommended for both men and women to improve various aspects of pelvic health.
How to perform Kegel exercise
- Identify the pelvic floor muscles: To do this, try to stop the flow of urine when you’re using the restroom. The muscles you use to do this are the ones you want to target during Kegel exercises.
- Find a comfortable position: You can do Kegel exercises in various positions, such as sitting, standing, or lying down. Choose a position that is comfortable for you.
- Contract the muscles: Squeeze the pelvic floor muscles and hold the contraction for about 5 seconds. You should feel a pulling or lifting sensation in the pelvic area. Try not to contract other muscles, like your abdominal or thigh muscles, while doing this.
- Release the muscles: Relax your pelvic floor muscles for about 5 seconds.
- Repeat: Perform this contraction and relaxation cycle 10-15 times in a row, building up to three sets per day.
It’s important to note that Kegel exercises should be done regularly to see noticeable improvements in pelvic floor strength. Over time, you can gradually increase the duration of the holds and the number of repetitions.
Benefits of Kegel exercise include
- Improved bladder control: Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can help reduce or prevent urinary incontinence, which is particularly common in women after childbirth and in the elderly.
- Better sexual function: Stronger pelvic floor muscles can lead to increased sexual satisfaction and may help with issues like erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation in men.
- Prevention of pelvic organ prolapse: Regular Kegel exercises can reduce the risk of pelvic organs (like the bladder, uterus, or rectum) sagging or dropping into the vaginal canal.
- Faster postpartum recovery: Women who do Kegel exercises during and after pregnancy often experience a quicker recovery of pelvic muscle tone.
However, It’s essential to perform Kegel exercises correctly to avoid straining other muscles or causing discomfort.
If you’re unsure about how to do them or have concerns about your pelvic health, it’s a good idea to consult with your healthcare professional, such as a physical therapist or urologist, who can provide guidance and tailor a pelvic floor exercise plan to your specific needs.