Pelvic Floor Exercise: Why & How to Tone Those Kegels
With all the lifting, stretching, running and sweating so many of us do at the gym however many times a week, we’re here to tell you about one muscle set you may be neglecting – at the expense of your sexual pleasure.
‘Oh no’, you’re probably thinking ‘not only am I being told that I’m not getting all the sensual enjoyment I deserve, but I have to exercise more, too?’ Hate to say it, but yes. However it’s not all bad; what we’re going to walk you through in today’s article is actually quite simple, and totally worth it.
So first things first; what’s this magical muscle that’s going to make your pleasure that much more prominent?
Enter the humble Kegel, which is the more widely-used term for your pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercise is beneficial for men as well as women, however today’s tips are aimed more at the fairer sex — when it comes to the basic workout moves however, they apply to both sexes. Doing pelvic floor exercises (correctly) right, pose valuable benefits that go well beyond pleasure and include, but are not limited to the following:
Easier arousal: exercising and having healthy Kegels will increase blood flow to your entire pelvic region, which with help you to get more fully aroused and ready for lovemaking, which in turn makes your orgasm much more likely to happen!
More urinal (and fecal) continence control: a number of women, especially after childbirth and during advanced years of age, experience ‘dribbling’ from time to time, be it when they laugh, sneeze or cough. Think of your pelvic floor as a hammock that runs from your tailbone to the front of your pelvis; they help to support and hold a number of your organs including your bladder, keeping it in check while you stay in totally control.
Faster recovery from childbirth and preparation for pregnancy: doing Kegel exercises before or after childbirth can help you to overcome or completely avoid the aforementioned leakage, and have you feeling more like your pre-delivery self much faster. Because childbirth can take such a toll on your pelvic floor muscles, some women experience lessened arousal and enjoyment from sex after pregnancy. Your pelvic muscles are responsible for the contractions you feel during climax, meaning if they’re in shape, your orgasms will be, too!
With reasons and benefits like these, you might be asking yourself ‘why in the world am I not exercising my Kegels?’ But we’re going to ask you to slow down a bit, because first we’ve got to answer the question ‘how do I exercise my Kegels?’ (which is what you should have asked first, BTW).
Locating your Kegels
Perhaps one reason why our Kegels go ignored is because making sure that you’re working the right muscles can be tricky. To make sure that you’re wasting no effort and exercising the correct muscles, start by placing two fingers in your vagina and squeezing on them with your vaginal muscles. Those are the muscles we’ll be focusing on in the workout tips to come.
For a less hands-on approach to locating the right muscles, the next time you’re peeing, stop your urination mid-flow; again, these are the muscles we’re working with, and congratulations! You’ve just done your first Kegel exercise workout move.
Exercising your pelvic floor
There currently exist three methods for exercising your pelvic floor and strengthening your Kegel muscles. A number of women rely on Kegel exercise weights for an effective workout, which are worn within the vagina and held there until the muscles are strong enough to graduate to heavier and heavier weights. Less commonly is the practice of electro stimulation, during which an electrical current is run through your pelvic region, causing your muscles to twitch, flex and tense.
The method we’re going to focus on however is the manual one, in which you, without any exercise aides, work your muscles into shape.
Since you’re just starting out, try your first few workout sessions lying on your back. After emptying your bladder, lie down flat on your back with your knees up and shoulder width apart.
Now, tense those muscles you used earlier to stop your urine flow. Flex for five seconds, and then release for five seconds. Repeat this as many as four or five times in a row for your first exercise session, and repeat this process once a day until you feel comfortable and strong enough to do more than one session a day.
Ideally, you will graduate to three sessions of 10-second repetitions every day. It may take a while, and you may not notice results after the first few days, but when you do notice them, you’ll be glad you stuck with the program!
When should I do my Kegels?
One of the great things about pelvic floor exercises is that you don’t need to be at the gym to do them. In time as you become more and more comfortable and confident that you’re tensing the right muscle set, you can do you exercise routine any time at all – even while writing an article about doing Kegel exercises!
I’m not sure I’m doing them right – now what?
Check this out: Most Common Kegel Mistakes And Tips To Improve
Never, ever hesitate to ask a doctor for their expert opinion in matters like these, because that’s what they’re there for. A medical practitioner can not only offer you some very helpful tips to make sure you’re focusing on the correct muscles. Otherwise you can try biofeedback training, in which a small probe is inserted in your vagina, and the strength of your Kegel squeeze will be measured and displayed for analysis by your doctor.
Donna is a Volonté contributor and freelancer who lives in San Francisco with her understanding husband and not-so-understanding teenage sons. Her work has been published in The Journal of Sexology and she is currently writing a book on love languages.