What is a Kegel?

What is a Kegel?

A kegel is actually an exercise that involves the muscles of the pelvis around the vagina, bladder and birth canal.  Women and men want to keep these muscles in shape because it helps prevent urinary incontinence as we age and keeps our sexual organs in good shape while we are young.  During birth the “kegel muscles” are stretched out by the baby’s passage through the birth canal.  By keeping these muscles in good shape they will regain their normal tone much more quickly after delivery.

How Do You Do Exercises?

The simplest way to explain how to do kegel exercise is to practice stopping urination in midstream.  You will have to contract the muscles surrounding your bladder and vagina in order to cut off the urine flow.  These are the same muscles you exercise during kegels.  You do not have to be urinating to exercise these muscles however.  You can contract these muscles when you are just sitting quietly.

How Frequently and How Many Reps Should I Perform Kegels?

While urinating, stop the flow midstream and hold….that is the muscles used for kegel exercise. After you learn what muscle to contract, practice holding the contraction for 2 seconds and then releasing for 2 seconds.  Work up to 10 seconds on and 10 seconds off.   The goal should be 8-10 per set.  Kegels should be lifetime exercises, get into a routine and do them every day, 2, 3, even 4 times.  Practice in the shower, at traffic lights, during sex or first thing in the morning before getting out of bed.

What Are The Benefits of Kegels?

During pregnancy kegels help prevent hemorrhoids, aid in stretching of vagina during delivery, decrease healing time of episiotomy.  After pregnancy, benefits from kegels include reduced urinary incontinence and improved vaginal wall tone for sexual enjoyment.

[Feature Image Courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

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