Kegel exercises, named after Dr. Arnold Kegel, are a series of pelvic floor muscle workouts designed to improve strength, flexibility, and endurance. While initially popularized to address issues like urinary incontinence, these exercises offer a myriad of benefits, contributing to overall pelvic health. Let's delve into how Kegel exercises work and how important it is to incorporate them into your routine.
Understanding the Pelvic Floor: The pelvic floor comprises muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues that provide support to the organs in the pelvis, including the bladder, uterus, and rectum. Weakening of these muscles can result in various issues such as urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and even sexual dysfunction.
The Basics of Kegel Exercises: Kegel exercises primarily target the pelvic floor muscles. To perform a basic Kegel exercise, identify the muscles by following pelvic floor exercise videos. Once located, contract and hold these muscles for a few seconds before releasing. The key is to isolate and engage the pelvic floor without involving the abdominal, buttock, or thigh muscles. This can be difficult! Physiotherapists recommend that you do pelvic floor exercisesat least once a day, the best being integrating into your daily life.
Building Strength and Endurance: Consistency is crucial when it comes to Kegel exercises. Start with a set of 10 repetitions, holding each contraction for about 5 seconds, and gradually increase the duration as the muscles become stronger. Just like different types of exercise, the more regularly you do Kegels, the quicker you can expect to see results. In most cases, you should notice an improvement in the strength of your pelvic floor within6 to 8 weeks, although understandably, this will vary from person to person.
Addressing Specific Concerns: If you’re experiencing pelvic floor issues such as urinary incontinence or lower back pain, this is generally due to a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles — which might be the result of pregnancy, childbirth, weight gain, or aging.
Tailor your routine to address specific concerns, whether it be improving sexual function, preventing pelvic organ prolapse, or preparing for childbirth. Specialized variations of Kegel exercises can be recommended by healthcare professionals based on individual needs or you can use a pelvic floor app (like Carin) to follow personalised training program.
Enhancing Sexual Health: Beyond addressing medical concerns, Kegel exercises can significantly contribute to improved sexual health. Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles enhances blood flow to the genital area, leading to increased sensitivity and better orgasm control. Both men and women can benefit from incorporating these exercises into their regular fitness routine.
Incorporating Kegel exercises into your daily routine offers a simple yet effective way to promote pelvic health and overall well-being. Whether you're looking to address specific concerns or enhance your sexual health, these exercises empower individuals to take control of their core strength. With just a few minutes a day, you can pave the way to a healthier, more resilient pelvic floor.
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