Kegels: The best exercise for women of ALL ages
If you haven’t already heard the K-word, Kegels is a form of exercise to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Unlike biceps and abdominal muscles, we can’t see them but they are just as, if not more important compared to other muscles as it supports your vital organs such as the bladder, rectum and uterus.
Just like any body parts, the pelvic floor needs to be maintained to function properly. A poorly functioning pelvic floor can cause
- Urinary and / or bowel leakage
- Back pain
- Painful sex
Enter Kegels again, first described by American gynaecologist, Arnold Kegel, in 1984 as a routine that involves clench-and-release motions without the need for any equipment. These motions are meant to help you squeeze the very same muscles that you would use to stop urinating or passing gas, strengthening them over time. This in turn is meant to improve the tone of your pelvic floor.
The best thing about doing Kegels is that you can do them anytime, anywhere without anyone knowing.
Fortunately or unfortunately, dysfunction in the pelvic floor is not always caused by self-neglect. It can occur as a result of childbirth, chronic medical conditions such as constipation or coughing and even from surgeries or radiation treatments.
We can all agree that performing Kegels at a young age and when you’re more mature are just as crucial as they serve to not only prevent dysfunction, it can also help in aiding recovery when it’s needed.
So now we know the importance of Kegels, do we know how to go about it? Let’s break it down for you to get started on Kegels.
#1 Find the right muscles
In order to identify your pelvic floor muscles, stop urination in midstream. But do not do this too often as it can lead to urinary tract infection.
#2 Perfect your technique
Kegels can be done in any position, be it lying down, sitting or standing. For a start, we do recommend that you do your Kegels while lying down. When doing Kegels, imagine you are sitting on a marble and tighten your pelvic muscles as if you’re lifting the marble. Try it for three seconds at a time, then relax for 3 seconds and repeat.
#3 Maintain your focus
As you’re doing your Kegels, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles but be careful not to flex the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Also do avoid holding your breath and try to breathe freely throughout your exercises.
#4 Repeat three times a day
Do aim to engage in Kegels for at least three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions a day, everyday
This is great and perfect for 1 camp of women who will religiously commit to Kegels daily but let’s face it, there will always be the other camp who just can’t imagine going past 3 days. Thankfully for these women, there are alternatives in the form of Functional Magnetic Stimulation.
In a nutshell, this treatment induces an electrical current (also known as electromagnetic induction) to aid in the contraction of a muscle or a group of muscle, effectively improving the tone of the treated muscle.
A treatment like this can be done thrice a week in a certified clinic with improvements in the pelvic floor in as little as 15 sessions.