An introduction to Kegel exercises for both men and women
The pelvic floor muscles are at an integral position in the human body. They’re often called the “core” muscles. They form the base of the pelvic portion, hosting all the vital reproductive organs. Different layers of tissues and muscles come together into the pelvic floor.
Naturally, these muscles control bladder activity. They allow the release or withholding of excretory content. If the sphincters in the pelvic region are weak, the pelvic floor muscles become more critical. Their contractions allow different reproductive organs to shift so urine can be released with ease.
If these muscles aren’t fully active or overly tense, you will experience trouble with holding urine.
What might cause the pelvic floor muscles to weaken?
The pelvic floor muscles can be easily affected by any traumatic activity the body experiences, such as childbirth, pregnancy, obesity, injury, etc. When the muscles are disturbed, they may not go back to fully functioning immediately. As a result, you may experience a leakage quite frequently. Sometimes, the muscle has been kept too active, and it cannot contract easily when required because it cannot tighten further.
In all these cases, bladder activity becomes hard to handle.
How can you tackle dysfunctioning pelvic muscles?
An excellent solution to maintaining the health of pelvic floor muscles is to perform kegel exercises regularly. These are exercises that focus on making sure your pelvic muscles can stand pressure and relax on demand. They make the muscles more potent and receptive and give you more active control over the pelvic floor.
However, kegel exercises are needed only when the pelvic floor muscles need to be made healthier or stronger. If you are experiencing severe dysfunction in the pelvic area, kegel exercises are the treatment. In case you are having difficulty doing exercises, you need to consult a doctor.
How to prepare for kegel exercises:
The first task is to locate your pelvic muscles. If you can withhold your urine, the muscles you feel contracting are the pelvic floor muscles. So you will need to engage those during the exercises.
Another way to locate the muscles is to insert a finger into your vagina or rectum; the muscles you feel tightening around it will be the pelvic muscles.
An essential aspect to remember is that you should always do kegel exercises on an empty bladder. Otherwise, your risk of catching a urinary tract infection (UTI) will rise.
How to perform kegel exercises:
Now that you’ve identified your target muscles, the rest is quite simple. After that, you may jump straight into the exercises.
For both men and women, the key is to start slow with small repetitions. Then, gradually, you can increase the time and your tolerance for the exercise.
Start by lying down on the floor or standing straight; whatever your position, you should be stable and contract your pelvic muscles for five seconds. Then relax them for five seconds. Repeat this series of contractions and relaxations 5-10 times in a row, twice every day.
As your strength for the exercise builds, you can increase the time for each contraction to 10-15 seconds.
Important points to remember:
During the exercise, make sure you breathe regularly. Do not hold your breath with the contractions. Also, try not to add tension to your abdomen, hips or thighs during the contractions.
If you experience any discomfort or pain during or after the exercise, you may be performing them wrong. Consult a healthcare professional to proceed without harm.
The benefits of kegel exercises:
Over time, if you continue to perform kegel exercises with care, you will find more significant control over your urinary muscles. As a result, your risk of a UTI will also decrease, and you will feel more comfortable. So, if you regularly face leakages or think your pelvic muscles need a push, try out a few kegel exercises today.