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Pelvic Floor - Kegel Exercises

No one likes talking about them and it affects one in 4 of us so let's get to grips of how we can improve our pelvic floor and how incorporating a few little movements in to our day could have a huge impact on our lives.

I have had a number of conversations in recent weeks concerning the Pelvic Floor.  What is it?  Does it matter?  The core is the powerhouse, or the band of muscles that circle the body.  Imagine your body is a powerhouse:  the diaphragm is the roof; the abdominals the front; back, hip and glutes the back side; and the pelvic floor is the foundation.  Any realtor will tell you – if there are issues with the foundation of a home, they must be repaired.  The same goes for your pelvic floor.

This is where Kegel exercises come into play they are vital for maintaining pelvic floor strength and control. For Kegel exercises to be most effective, first you need to know how to find and feel your pelvic floor muscles working correctly. Then when you are confident in your ability to exercise the correct muscles using the right technique, you are ready to start a regular pelvic floor workout.

How To Find Your Pelvic Floor Muscles

Your pelvic floor muscles are positioned in and around the area where you sit. They run like a hammock between the pubic bone at the front to the tailbone at the back, and from side to side between the sit bones. They are a little like a trampoline of support for your pelvic organs; including the bladder, uterus and vagina, and rectum. The pelvic floor muscles encircle the three pelvic openings (urethra or urine tube, vagina and anus) and are inside your body so they can’t be viewed from outside. This can make Kegel exercises challenging especially for women who have difficulty feeling their pelvic floor muscles working.

How To Feel Your Pelvic Floor Muscles For Effective Kegel Exercises

When you activate your pelvic floor muscles correctly it feels like a squeeze and inwards lift in and around the urethra (urine tube). Some women feel a definite squeeze and lift while others feel just a slight flicker, especially with weak pelvic floor muscles.

There are some excellent techniques women can use to help find and feel their pelvic floor muscles working correctly. Anyone of the following techniques may help you feel your pelvic floor muscles working correctly:

  1. Next time you empty your bladder see if you can stop or slow the flow using a squeeze and inwards lift of your pelvic openings. If you can’t alter the flow this is a sign that your pelvic floor muscles aren’t working as they should. This technique is simply a test that may be performed occasionally, no more than once a week and never if you have problems emptying your bladder.
  2. Imagine you need to avoid passing gas in a public place; contract and draw up the muscles in and around your anus.
  3. Lie on your side with your knees bent, and place a finger on your perineum . You should feel your perineum lift inwards away from your finger with correct technique.
Kegel Exercises
Kegel Exercises

How To Contract Your Pelvic Floor Muscles Step-By-Step

Step 1- Position

Position your body where you best feel your pelvic floor muscles contracting; either lying down, kneeling and resting on your forearms, sitting or standing. When starting out pelvic floor exercises are often easier lying on your side, back or stomach or kneeling.

Step 2- Posture

Try to maintain the normal inward curve in your low spine. If you are sitting or standing, keep your body tall.

Step 3- Lift, Squeeze, And Breathe

Activate your pelvic floor muscles with a lift and squeeze action remembering to and breathe normally throughout. Try to keep lifting and squeezing your pelvic floor for up to 10 seconds at a time.

Step 4- Relax

Completely relax your pelvic floor muscles back to their normal resting position and allow them adequate time to rest and recover before attempting your next exercise.

Workout Guidelines For A Stronger Pelvic Floor

When you can feel your pelvic floor muscles and contract them correctly you are ready to start your regular daily pelvic floor workout. Everyone is different in terms of how much exercise they can do when starting out – commence with what you can comfortably do, even if it is just a few short contractions in a row throughout the day and gradually build up your exercises over time.

Daily Kegel exercise workout guidelines:

  • Contract your pelvic floor muscles for 3-10 seconds at a time;
  • Repeat these contractions for up to 8-12 repetitions in a row for one full set of exercises;
  • Perform 3 sets of exercises throughout the day i.e. approximately 20-30 exercises in total;
  • Aim to do your kegel exercises every day; and
  • Try to make your kegel progressively stronger as your strength improves.

If your pelvic floor muscles are weak, it can take 5-6 months of regular exercises to strength and control. Some women notice improvements even after a couple of weeks. And the best part? Age is no barrier to better pelvic floor fitness. Pelvic floor muscles have the capacity to strengthen and recover regardless of the stage of life.

Here are Some great apps you can use:

KEGEL TRAINER Price: FREE with in-app purchases available

myKEGEL EXERCISE TRAINER Price: £3.99

SQUEEZE TIME Price: FREE with in-app purchases available

(links to Apple App Store)