How To: Kegel Exercises
Kegel exercises are an important part of pelvic health because they help to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and supporting ligaments for both men and women. It is suggested to do 3 sets of 10 repetitions a day to support a healthy pelvic floor.
Benefits from kegel exercises include:
- Reduces urinary incontinence (from sneezing, coughing, or laughing)
- Reduces fecal incontinence
- Supports more intense orgasm and ejaculation
- Strengthens and speeds recovery of the pelvic floor post-pregnancy or surgery
Here are some tips for doing proper kegel exercises:
- Find the right muscles. To identify your pelvic floor muscles, 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.1
See figure below for general illustration of the pelvic floor.
1 Mayo Clinic staff. (2012, September 12) Kegel exercises: A how-to guide for women. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/womens-health/in-depth/kegel-exercises/art-20045283