How to do Kegel Exercises
The abdominal musculature is very intricate. If one muscle on the neurological loop of abdominal muscles cannot function, chances are the whole abdominal unit will not function properly. What this means is, if you have super strong “abs” but leak pee when you laugh or cough, you may have muscles that are not working properly on the “inner unit” loop. These are the key muscles that stabilize the low back and provide spinal stiffness during exercise. One key muscle that often becomes weak after child birth or as we get older are the pelvic floor muscles. It takes diligence to identify your pelvic floor muscles and learn how to contract and relax them. Here are some pointers:
Find the right muscles by trying to stop the flow of urine when you urinate. If you succeed, you’ve got the basic move. Don’t make a habit of starting and stopping your urine stream though. Doing Kegel exercises with a full bladder or 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.
Once you’ve identified your pelvic floor muscles, contract your pelvic floor muscles, hold the contraction for five seconds, 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 three times a day. Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day. Try fitting in a set every time you do a routine task, such as checking e-mail, commuting to work, preparing meals or watching TV.
Strengthens the pelvic floor muscles and helps prevent incontinence. If you need additional help strengthen the vaginal wall, consider asking your physician about using a TENs machine.