- What are
- What they are for and benefits
- How to make
Kegel exercises are simple voluntary contractions useful to tone and strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor and the perineal area. The pelvic floor is formed by a set of muscles and ligaments positioned at the base of the abdomen, from the pubic bone to the coccyx, and serves to support all the organs of the urinary and reproductive system, therefore the bladder, urethra and uterus, as well as the rectum and the anus. The perineum is instead located between the vagina and the anus in the woman and between the pubis and the anus for the man and are involved in the regulation of urination and the expulsion of feces, in pregnancy and during childbirth, as well as contracting during sexual intercourse.
The pelvic floor muscles tend to weaken with advancing age, after pregnancy and during menopause as well as in the case of constipation, overweight and obesity, too sedentary life. A hypotonic pelvic floor can lead to various discomforts and problems such as urinary incontinence, prolapse of the uterus in women, difficulty or inability to reach orgasm and other disorders of the sexual sphere.
Designed by the American gynecologist Arnold Kegel for intimate gymnastics for women, and in particular to prevent and treat incontinence and prolapse of the uterus, Kegel exercises can also benefit men, for example in case of erectile dysfunction and ejaculation. early in humans.
What they are for and benefits
Kegel exercises serve to strengthen and tone the pelvic floor muscles, bringing benefits to the entire urinary and reproductive system, both in women and men. Constantly training the pelvic floor can help prevent and treat various ailments and improve the sexual sphere. In particular, Kegel exercises are recommended for:
- urinary incontinence
- uterine prolapse
- train the muscles for childbirth
- re-educate post-partum muscles
- difficulty or inability to reach orgasm
- erectile dysfunction
- premature ejaculation
- benign prostatic hyperplasia
Kegel exercises are therefore useful for preventing incontinence or improving the control of urinary losses, which can occur with advancing age or after childbirth. During pregnancy, pelvic floor training can help prevent the appearance of hemorrhoids, better cope with labor and delivery and, after childbirth, re-educate all the muscles following the physiological stress suffered. Kegel exercises also allow for better control of erection and ejaculation in men, improving erectile dysfunction and postponing the moment of orgasm. In women, however, a toned pelvic floor makes the vagina and vulva more sensitive, promoting arousal and reaching orgasm during sexual intercourse.
To obtain benefits, it is important to perform Kegel exercises every day, dedicating at least five minutes to training the pelvic floor. However, we must not overdo it, so as not to tire the muscles. It is possible to start training at any age and the results begin to show within a few weeks or a few months.
How to make
As we have seen, the pelvic floor muscles are of great importance. Despite this, few people are aware of these muscles and are unable to "feel" them. The first thing to do is therefore to become aware of these muscles, be able to locate them and understand how to control them. To understand where the pelvic floor muscles are located, there is a simple exercise, which consists in blocking the flow of pee for a few seconds while urinating. This allows you to understand which muscles are involved and which will need to be trained. Once you understand what type of contraction you need to perform, you can proceed with the actual exercises.
Before starting Kegel exercises it is essential to empty your bladder completely. This is followed by contracting the pelvic floor muscles – the same ones used to block the flow of urine – and maintaining the contraction for 4-10 seconds. Finally, the muscles are slowly released and contracted again, repeating the contraction ten times, one to three times a day. It is important to proceed step by step: you start with contractions of a few seconds and repetitions only once a day, and then gradually increase the contraction time and the number of daily repetitions, without exaggerating so as not to over-stress the muscles. During the execution of the exercises you must breathe regularly and the abdominal muscles, buttocks or thighs must not be contracted.
Kegel exercises are quite discreet and can be done practically anywhere and in any situation, when you become familiar with your body. They can be performed sitting, lying down or in the "bridge" position and can be included in your fitness workouts. Women can also resort to the use of silicone vaginal balls or cones to be worn during the day to keep the muscles of the vagina and pelvic floor trained.