Did you know that over 30% of women and 20% of men experience some form of pelvic floor dysfunction during their lifetime? If you've ever struggled with bladder or bowel control or felt a lack of confidence in the bedroom, you're not alone. The solution to these common issues lies within a simple yet often overlooked exercise: Kegels. Yes, you read that right!
These easy-to-do exercises can unlock various benefits for both men and women, enabling you to embrace your inner strength. In this blog, we will explore the surprising benefits of incorporating Kegel exercises into your daily routine and how they can transform your overall well-being.
Understanding Kegel Exercises and Pelvic Floor Muscles
To start, let's explore the basics of Kegel exercises and understand the importance of pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises involve simple contractions and relaxations of the pelvic muscles, which play a crucial role in supporting pelvic organs and maintaining bladder and bowel control. Located between the pubic bone and tailbone, they form a sling-like structure that offers stability and regulates bladder and bowel movements.
When these muscles weaken or stretch due to factors like ageing, pregnancy, childbirth, obesity, or a sedentary lifestyle, it can result in various health issues. Some of these problems include bladder problems like urinary incontinence. In this condition, individuals may experience accidental leakage during activities such as sneezing, laughing, or exercising.
Additionally, weakened pelvic floor muscles can contribute to pelvic organ prolapse for women. This condition involves the descent of pelvic organs into the vaginal canal. Hence, performing Kegel pelvic exercises correctly is essential for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and resolving associated issues.
However, despite their simplicity, many people commonly misunderstand Kegel exercises, resulting in improper execution and limited benefits. To ensure optimal outcomes and perform Kegel pelvic exercises accurately, individuals should follow these detailed step-by-step instructions:
- Identify the Correct Muscles: Find a comfortable position. It could be any sitting, standing or lying down. Then, try to contract the muscles that you would normally use to stop the flow of urine. The tightening sensation you experience are your pelvic floor muscles.
- Isolate the Muscles: The focus should solely be on contracting the pelvic floor muscles without involving the abdomen, buttocks, or thigh muscles.
- Duration and Repetition: To perform the exercise, contract your muscles for approximately 5 seconds. Then, relax for an equal duration of 5 seconds. Repeat this process a total of 10 times consecutively, gradually increasing both the duration and number of repetitions as you progress over time. The another way is to do quick succession of contraction and relaxation of these muscles.
- Consistency is Key: Develop a daily routine and incorporate Kegel pelvic exercises into your regular practice. Strive for at least three sets of each way of exercises per day, consisting of 10 repetitions in each set.
The Connection Between Pelvic Floor Muscles and Bladder Problems
Regular Kegel exercises positively influence bladder health and offer significant benefits against bladder problems. One such problem is urinary incontinence. It is a widespread bladder problem affecting millions worldwide and can greatly impact a person's quality of life. It leads to feelings of embarrassment, anxiety, and social isolation.
Weak pelvic floor muscles often contribute to urinary incontinence. This condition arises when the bladder experiences pressure, like during coughing, sneezing, or lifting heavy objects. Engaging in regular Kegel pelvic floor muscles exercises can significantly improve the strength of these muscles.
Consequently, you can achieve better bladder control and reduce the risk of urinary leakage. Multiple studies have indicated that consistent performance of pelvic floor muscles exercises by women leads to fewer instances of stress urinary incontinence and increases the likelihood of regaining bladder control, which was lost after childbirth.
It's worth noting that men can also benefit from pelvic floor muscle exercises as they aid in alleviating urinary incontinence following prostate surgery.
The Surprising Benefits of Regular Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises go beyond just improving bladder control. In fact, they offer various surprising benefits. Here are some of them:
- Enhanced Sexual Health: Strong pelvic floor muscles play a crucial role in promoting sexual well-being for both men and women. In females, these muscles contribute to vaginal tightness, heightening sexual satisfaction, and intensifying orgasms. In males, practising Kegel pelvic floor exercises can enhance erectile function and prolong the duration of an erection.
- Prevention of Prolapse: Prolapse occurs when the organs in the pelvis, such as the uterus, bladder, or rectum, descend into the vaginal canal due to weakened pelvic floor muscles. To address this issue and promote better pelvic health, regular practice of Kegel pelvic floor exercises can be highly effective. These exercises provide crucial support to the pelvic organs and help prevent and alleviate symptoms associated with prolapse.
- Improved Postpartum Recovery: Pregnancy and childbirth can have a major impact on the condition of a woman's pelvic floor muscles in form of overstreching, tear or denervation. It can potentially lead to weakened muscles, vaginal laxity and issues with bladder and bowel control. To aid in the recovery process, engaging in Kegel exercises during pregnancy and after childbirth proves beneficial. This practice helps women regain their pelvic strength, alleviating postpartum complications.
- Increased Core Stability: The pelvic floor muscles form an essential part of the core musculature. Strengthening these muscles can enhance core stability, promote better posture, and alleviate lower back pain.
- Improved Quality of Life: Having strong pelvic floor muscles and better bladder and bowel control can enhance self-confidence and overall quality of life. Engaging in Kegel exercises empowers individuals to take charge of their physical health, resulting in a sense of achievement and well-being.
Tips and Guidelines for Effective Kegel Exercise Routine
To maximise the benefits of Kegel pelvic floor exercises, consider the following tips and guidelines:
- Consistency is key. Make Kegel exercises a daily routine to experience lasting improvements in pelvic floor strength.
- Use reminders or alarms to prompt yourself to perform Kegel exercises, especially when starting with your daily exercise routine.
- Best way is to combine it with your other daily routine activities like brushing teeth, waiting at red traffic lights while driving, during commercial breaks while watching your favourite TV serials.
- Avoid holding your breath or squeezing your thighs or abdominal muscles together while doing Kegel exercises. Maintain relaxed breathing throughout the exercise.
- If you want to enhance the strength of your pelvic floor muscles over time, gradually increase both the duration and number of repetitions during your exercises. This progressive approach will provide a challenge that helps improve your pelvic muscles.
- When looking to enhance core strength and flexibility, it's beneficial to combine Kegel exercises with other forms of exercise like yoga or Pilates. This integrated approach helps in achieving overall fitness goals more effectively.
- One way of looking whether your pelvic floor muscles are of good strength is trying to stop your urine flow in middle of peeing but you should not do it regularly as otherwise can lead to voiding problems.
Regularly practising Kegel exercises can greatly bolster your inner strength, leading to remarkable improvements in your pelvic health and overall well-being. Who would have thought that such a simple routine could have such profound benefits?
By committing to regular Kegels, you're not only boosting your pelvic floor health but also unlocking a whole world of unexpected advantages. From increased intimacy to improved bladder and bowel control and core stability, the rewards are truly remarkable.