The one muscle that we're shy to discuss also seems to be the one most of us want to know more about. When it comes to our bodies and sex lives, it’s important to make sure things are on the up and up, but often we can be too nervous to really discuss the matter openly. So, let’s go there together and find the answer to the question on all of our minds: are kegel exercises actually good for you?
What’s All the Fuss About?
You’ve probably overheard your girlfriends chatting about the mystery that is kegel exercises, but it’s now time to get in the know. Kegels are clench-and-release exercises that work out the muscles of your pelvic floor (aka vagina muscles) and make them stronger. Contrary to popular belief, kegel exercises can actually be performed by both men and women.
Why Do Kegel Exercises?
Many factors can weaken the muscles of the pelvic floor in women, particularly childbirth, pregnancy, aging and weight gain. The weakening of these muscles can lead to discomfort and urinary incontinence as the pelvic organs lower into the vagina. Kegel exercises strengthen your pelvic floor to combat this (hooray!). They are also said to enhance sexual pleasure by helping women (and potentially their partners) to achieve orgasm more easily and more frequently—now that's a win-win.
Finding Your Kegel Muscles
Before you actually start working out your kegel muscles, you'll want to familiarize yourself with where they actually are. Since you likely haven’t thought about these muscles too much in the past, get familiar with them by directing your attention down below...yes, down there. When urinating, try to stop the stream of pee from flowing—these are the muscles you want to put to work!
The Kegel Exercise Routine
It’s simple: as a beginner, first empty your bladder and then find a quiet place to conduct your exercise (your usual gym, not recommended). Simply tense the muscles in your pelvic floor for a count of three, then relax them for a count of three. Repeat this routine for ten repetitions. As you build up your strength, develop your routine so that you are holding your pelvic floor muscles tense for ten seconds. Do three sets of ten repetitions every day. You'll be on your way to a fitter va-jay-jay in no time.
The Kegel Cautions
Avoid working your kegel muscles too much, as this can fatigue them and prevent them from fulfilling their necessary functions. Be sure that the muscles in your abdomen, back and bum remain relaxed as your do your kegel exercises—if they're contracting too, you're not actually using your kegel muscles. Moreover, if you feel a pain in your back or abdomen after doing your kegel exercises, this is a sign that you aren’t doing them correctly.
As long as you’re taking it slow and steady, you can reap the health (and lifestyle) benefits of strong kegel muscles in as little as 12 weeks. Just don’t get discouraged if you don’t see the benefits right away—these kinds of things take time and focus, but oh baby, is it worth it.
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