WARNING!!!! This posting contains graphic material that may be disturbing to the faint of heart. If you want to have sex with your partner tonight, do not let him see the pictures in this post.
Anyone who comes to class at Urbanfitt or is one of my clients might get tired of hearing me say "Do a kegel" or "Are you doing a kegel"? But why are kegels so important during workouts?
According to Carrie Levine CNM, MSN:
The pelvic floor makes up a significant piece of your body’s core, the essence of your very being. The foundation for all movement, balance, stability and flexibility begins in the pelvis. And in times of change, such as during pregnancy, childbirth, perimenopause and menopause, we can support our bodies — literally and figuratively — by creating strength in our cores.
Apart from kegels assisting in improving core strength, they are also extremely important for preventing a prolapsed vagina and leaky lady syndrome one can witness during a jump rope session or jumping jacks.
You might not know that seven out of ten women have disorders of the pelvic floor. It’s not surprising, given that the pelvic floor supports the bones in the spine; structures the abdominal cavity — muscles and organs included; controls the passage of urine and stool; facilitates the childbirth process; and contributes to a woman’s sexual pleasure and ability to reach orgasm. What is surprising for many of us, however, is that problems with the above are avoidable.
As a midwife, I have seen what strength and flexibility in the pelvic floor can do for women. Yet many of us think our only option for these muscles is to practice Kegel exercises. Dr. Arnold Kegel discovered in the 1940’s that you can actually strengthen the vaginal muscles by — get this — resistance strength training. These squeeze-and-hold vaginal exercises known as Kegels were specifically designed to target pelvic floor strengthening.
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I have trained a male OBGYN surgeon who was a non-believer. But this is what the Mayo Clinic says about kegels:
Many factors can weaken your pelvic floor muscles, from pregnancy and childbirth to aging and being overweight. This may allow your pelvic organs to descend and bulge into your vagina — a condition known as pelvic organ prolapse. The effects of pelvic organ prolapse range from uncomfortable pelvic pressure to leakage of urine. Pelvic organ prolapse isn't inevitable, however. Kegel exercises can help delay or even prevent pelvic organ prolapse and the related symptoms.
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But is it really worth risking having the following thing happen to our beautiful vajayjays? Is it worth risking having to go for surgery? Clearly kegels can't prevent some incidents of prolapsed vaginas. There are many things out of our control. For those women out there reading this who do have this going on down south, I'm not in any way saying it's your fault for not doing more kegels. For those of us with things in their happy place, why not do what we can to prevent right?
Have I scared the CRAP put of you yet? I put my money where my mouth is. Every time I tell someone to do a kegel I do one too. That isn't going to be me if I have anything to say about it.
So some of you might not know how to do a kegel. You might not even know where your pelvic floor muscles are. So here you go. This ought to clear things up.
How to do Kegel exercises (taken from Mayoclinic.com)
It takes diligence to identify your pelvic floor muscles and learn how to contract and relax them. Here are some pointers:
1) Find the right muscles. Insert a finger inside your vagina and try to squeeze the surrounding muscles. You should feel your vagina tighten and your pelvic floor move upward. Then relax your muscles and feel your pelvic floor return to the starting position. You can also try 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.
2) Perfect your technique. Once you've identified your pelvic floor muscles, empty your bladder and sit or lie down. 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.
3) Repeat three times a day. Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions a day. You might make a practice of fitting in a set every time you do a routine task, such as checking email, commuting to work, preparing meals or watching TV.
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