2! 4! 6! 8! Kegels Don’t Discriminate!
Imagine your inner cheerleader chanting these words, voice loud, pony tail (for your inner cheerleader always has a pony tail, regardless of your actual hair length) bouncing, encouraging you to do some kegels.
Now why, you may ask, is your inner cheerleader so excited about kegels?
We all know that pregnant women are supposed to do kegels. But did you know that it is actually a recommended exercise for almost everyone?
Kegels are small exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor. They are strongly recommended for women who are pregnant, women who have recently given birth, and anyone (male or female) who has urinary incontinence.
In general, however, it is a good idea for all women to do kegels, as a preventative measure against a prolapsed uterus.
What is a prolapsed uterus? A uterus is prolapsed when it moves from its’ normal place in the body towards, into, and sometimes outside of the vaginal area. This creates feelings of heaviness, can be painful, and can interfere with your digestive tract.
One of the awesome things about kegels is that you can do them anywhere, because the outside observer cannot tell that you are doing them! (Your inner cheerleader is doing toe touches to celebrate this as we speak.)
Never done a kegel before?
The most difficult part of kegels is locating the kegel muscles. There are two ways a female can do this:
1) Insert a finger into the vagina and try to squeeze the finger with the muscles surrounding it.
2) While urinating, stop mid-flow, focusing on the muscles that are used to do this action. (You do not want to use this as a substitute for doing kegels, however, since doing this too much can actually weaken the kegel muscles, as well as increase your chances of urinary infection.)
For males, focusing on stopping urination mid-flow is also a suitable method for discerning which muscles need to be exercised. Another method is to imagine you are trying to prevent yourself from passing gas; while doing this, you will feel a pulling sensation that comes from squeezing your kegel muscles.
Once you have located what muscles you need to exercise, the exercise consists of contracting and then releasing those muscles.
There is one other tricky aspect to kegel exercises: you have to try not to use any other muscles while doing a kegel contraction. This isolation can be trickier than it sounds, but using the mind-body connection will really help with achieving this feat. By focusing your mind on the kegel muscles you are trying to exercise, you will be able to work them more effectively, and teach yourself how to contract only your kegel muscles.
You should aim to do kegels for a few minutes at a time, a few times every day. Since kegels can be done anywhere, at any time, it is fairly easy to squeeze them in to your schedule, as long as you remember to do them. Kegels are an easy way to multi-task; just do your kegels while doing another activity you are very familiar with, and do not really have to think about, such as brushing your teeth. Bored at the doctor’s office? Do some kegels. Sitting through previews before your movie starts? Do some kegels. Sitting at a red light? Do some kegels.
Remember, your inner cheerleader wants you to – and you know how hard it is to ignore a cheerleader with a megaphone.