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Kegel exercises for womenA how to guide- Kegel Exercises
Some of you may have heard of Kegel exercises– the contracting and relaxing of the pelvic floor muscles- being a great way to boost your sex life. Kegel exercises can also work really well in terms of bladder control. Research shows that up to 70% of women with stress incontinence who regularly exercised their pelvic floor had significant improvement in bladder control.
Gynecologist Arnold Kegel, MD, invented them in 1948. Kegel exercises are not as easy as some may believe. Over half of women that suffer from urinary incontinence have difficulty contracting their pelvic floor muscles and many women use kegel balls to aid in their workout.
Try these tips to guarantee your pelvic floor muscles get the full benefit from Kegel exercises.
What’s the right way to do Kegels?
To identify the correct feeling in the muscles you are trying to contract, attempt to stop urination mid-stream.
Imagine squeezing a grape with your vagina.
Use a hand mirror to perfect your form. If done correctly you should notice your perineum contract with each rep.
Start out by trying to hold contractions for 4 seconds, then relax for 4 seconds and repeat this cycle a couple of times throughout the day. You should aim to work your way up to ten second reps over time.
What if I need help?
If you are unsure that you are getting the most from Kegel exercises, contact your doctor or book an appointment with a pelvic floor physical therapist, for women who have trouble in isolating their pelvic floor muscles, physical therapy can make a vast improvement on this. By seeing a specialist you can be prescribed a personalized program to improve your pelvic floor muscles over time.
Think of it like a personal trainer in the gym, they progress with their clients and aim for higher reps and length as the client gets stronger. Kegel exercises should be tackled in the same way. Start out with 3 to 4 second reps then gradually increase to ten second reps.
Your pelvic floor muscles affect your legs and abs. Once you have learned to isolate and contract your pelvic floor you should try introducing core strength exercises. If your core is not up to scratch, then your pelvic muscles are at risk of being over worked.
How to know if my Kegels are working?
Your gynecologist/urologist or pelvic floor physical therapist may suggest biofeedback, a probe is inserted into the vagina or rectum to monitor pelvic floor activity when you relax and contract your pelvic floor muscles. This procedure can help identify any problems in muscle contractions.
You can practice every day at home, or at work, literally anywhere. By making Kegel exercises part of your daily routine you will see continued and prolonged benefits over time.