Kegels—exercises for toning the pelvic floor muscles—have long been recommended to people as a way to protect their intimate health at every age. From a stronger and toned pelvic floor to reduced back pain, there are numerous benefits to doing kegels. Given that the pelvic floor muscles are responsible for supporting the uterus, bladder, bowel and helps maintain control over urination and bowel movements, it’s all the more important to practice kegels.
However, there are people who don’t enjoy the full benefits of the exercise because they don’t do it right. Generally, you should tighten your pelvic muscles—the same ones you hold in pee or gas—and hold them for a certain number of seconds, relax, and then repeat. But research shows that 50% of women are unable to complete a correct kegel contraction just by receiving written or verbal instructions. If you’re one of them, here is a quick guide to the most common kegel mistakes and how you can avoid them.
To execute a correct kegel exercise, you should not tense the abdomen, buttocks, or thighs. Instead, you should find a comfortable position that allows you to isolate and contract the pelvic floor. When you squeeze and lift your anus, urethra, and vagina, the rest of your body should be relaxed.
Before you proceed with training, take the time to learn and perfect the exercise. You can consult your gynecologist for extra assistance. You shouldn’t be embarrassed about it—after all, kegels are recommended by doctors to help you.
Another common mistake is bearing down or straining the pelvic floor as if you have a bowel movement. Not only is this wrong practice, but it also increases abdominal pressure. If you continue, you risk damaging your pelvic floor muscles. To correct this, ensure that you’re contracting inwards and upwards. The feeling should be similar to the sensation of stopping urination mid-stream or holding in gas.
For kegel exercises to work, you have to do it regularly. You will not get the benefits that you read about if you’re not doing kegels on the regular. For it to work, you should do many kegel repetitions as often as you can. However, it should be noted that the amount of time it takes for it to work varies from person to person, but many people have been practicing them for a few weeks report that they already see a difference.
In case you didn’t know, your pelvic floor muscles are made up of two different types of muscle fibers: fast-twitch and slow-twitch. The fast-twitch fibers allow your muscles to react quickly to an increase in pressure, while slow-twitch fibers are for the long-term support of your pelvic organs. These different types of fibers require different exercises. To get the most out of your kegels, your routine should be comprised of both quick contraction exercises and strong contractions held for a longer count.
Following the tips above can help you practice the exercise the right way and reap the benefits of kegels. If you want to supercharge your workouts, Kegelmaster, a unique vaginal exerciser, can help you further strengthen and tighten the muscles of the pelvic floor.