This is a quick guide to doing Kegels to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
Step 1 | Find the correct muscles
To find the correct pelvic floor
muscles – the key to getting it right – you need to first isolate the muscles. To do this, you can try to stop urinating mid-stream. If you can do it, good job, you’ve got the right muscles.
Don’t make a habit of stopping your urine stream to do your Kegels, because it can increase your risk of urinary tract infections. Instead, learn how to do the same thing sans the pee.
Step 2 | Get into a comfortable position
Your whole body needs to be relaxed, so you could be sitting at your desk at work, or on the couch, or lying on the bed. It doesn’t really matter, so long as you can feel the muscles you are trying to tighten, and are not tightening anything else at the same time. If you can feel yourself tightening other muscles (like your abs), change position.
Step 3 | Start the exercises three times daily
The routine is thus: tighten your pelvic floor muscles for five seconds, then relax for five seconds. Do this five times, and repeat the whole operation three times during the day, keeping a record so you can tick your sessions off.
The middle session should be quick contractions, instead of slow holds, so try to do the contractions as rapidly as you can – which might be pretty slow at first. This will be one key area that you notice the difference in – how quickly you can contract.
That’s day one. On day two, you can go for six seconds, with six seconds break, six times; then on day three go for seven seconds, with a seven-second break, seven times, etc. until you reach 10 seconds. Once you get to the 10-second mark, do this every day, increasing if you feel like it.
Soon, you will be standing at the traffic lights wantonly doing your Kegels.
Step 4 | Perfect your technique
Be hyper aware of what the rest of your body is doing until you get the hang of it. At first, you may find yourself overcompensating for weak pelvic floor muscles, and therefore other parts of your body may jump in to help, but over time, as your muscles get stronger, this will become less and less obvious. Maintaining good technique with Kegels is just as important as any other exercise.
Make sure you are not holding your breath, relax the muscles in your abdomen, thighs and butt, and stay focused during the exercise period.
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