28 May 2012 4 Comments
When I was pregnant with my last child, I learned about an exercise in the Bradley Method child birthing class we were taking. They’re called “kegel exercises”, and they are something that I have continued to do for the past 27 years.
Kegel exercises strengthen the pubococcygeus or PC muscles, also known as the pelvic floor. The PC muscles are shaped like a sling and hold the bladder and uterus in place. Over the years, they can become weakened from many factors such as pregnancy and childbirth, being overweight, and of course just plain old aging.
If these muscles are allowed to become weak and out of shape, it can cause several potential problems like urinary incontinence, or prolapsed bladder and uterus. Mayo Clinic says, “The effects of pelvic organ prolapse range from uncomfortable pelvic pressure to leakage of urine. Pelvic organ prolapse isn’t inevitable, however. Kegel exercises can help delay or even prevent pelvic organ prolapse and the related symptoms.”
Some of the other benefits of doing your “kegels” are that they can make delivering a baby easier, which is the reason I originally started doing them, and they increase the intensity and strength of orgasms. And I don’t know about you, but I’m all for stronger orgasms…and a bladder and uterus that stay in place, of course.
You can find all kinds of information on the internet on different ways to do these exercises, but the basics are to tighten up your vagina as though you were trying to prevent the flow of urine (but make sure your bladder is empty when doing these). Hold that muscle as hard as you can (avoid tightening your butt, legs, and abdomen) for several seconds then release for several seconds. Repeat these frequently throughout your day. As you progress, increase the repetitions and the amount of time that you hold it. I have an iPhone app called “The Kegel Trainer” that reminds me to do mine. It’s really pretty cool because it not only reminds me to do them, but it has over 150 different sessions that get progressively harder each time. And it’s probably the iPhone app I use the most.
Fortunately these exercises can be done anytime, anywhere, and need no special equipment, though there are kegel exercisers out there if you want to give them a try. If you’re interested in checking them out, there are many options. A couple of the better rated ones are the LELO Luna Pleasure Bead System, or if you’re not interested in the beads there is Natural Contours Energie Kegel Barbell Exerciser. I’ve read that these can actually help increase the strength of the PC muscles even more, though I just do them the old fashioned way.
Personally, I believe that doing kegel exercises really does work. At my age, issues like incontinence and prolapsed bladder or uterus starts to become an problem for many women. Thankfully, this is not a problem that I am having. At a recent doctor’s visit, I was told that my pelvic floor is extremely strong for a woman my age, which I thought was wonderful news. It made me realize that the exercises were worth it, which spurred me on to want to do them even more. Not to mention, I truly believe that they have helped increase my orgasms over the years. That’s why I highly recommend these exercises to everyone whether doing them with or without any additional equipment.
Do you kegel? If so, how has it helped you?