Updated: Jun 28, 2019
Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum. You can do Kegel exercises, also known as pelvic floor muscle training, discreetly just about anytime.
It's always better to work on pelvic floor muscle in integration with your entire core, however working on them alone and help you identify them and also train your brain to know exactly which commend to send to the muscles for time like right after vaginal birth when the area is a bit numb.
Kegel exercises can be done during pregnancy or after childbirth, and many factors can weaken your pelvic floor muscles, including pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, aging and being overweight.
You might benefit from doing Kegel exercises if you: • Have weak core
• Leak a few drops of urine while sneezing, laughing or coughing
• Have a strong, sudden urge to urinate just before losing a large amount of urine (urinary incontinence)
• Leak stool (fecal incontinence)
How to do them?
It takes diligence to identify your pelvic floor muscles and learn how to contract and relax them.
Here are some pointers:
• Find the right muscles. The best way is by sitting a soft ball (bender-ball or labor ball), sticking your tailbone out a bit (Anterior Pelvic Tilt in the professional language), so the font, bottom part of the vagina is resting on the ball. When you contract, you should feel like you're closing the two sides towards each other on the ball, then lifting them up and away from the ball. If you are not certain, you could try to stop urination in midstream. If you succeed, you've got the right muscles.
• Perfect your technique. Once you've identified your pelvic floor muscles, empty your bladder and lie on your back. Tighten your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for five seconds, and then relax for five seconds. Try it four or five times in a row. Work up to keeping the muscles contracted for 10 seconds at a time, relaxing for 10 seconds between contractions.
• Maintain your focus. For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during the exercises.
• Repeat 3 times a day. Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day.
Don't make a habit of using Kegel exercises to start and stop your urine stream. Doing Kegel exercises while emptying your bladder can actually weaken the muscles, as well as lead to incomplete emptying of the bladder — which increases the risk of a urinary tract infection.
Always remember to fully release when practicing Kegels, as letting go is just as important as learning to contract your pelvic floor muscles.