Named after gynecologist, Dr. Arnold Kegel, who developed a vaginal pressure measuring tool called the Kegel perineometer, Kegel exercises help both men and women. For women, performing Kegel exercises keeps the pelvic floor muscles strong, which can weaken after pregnancy and childbirth. Kegels also can help you have orgasms. For men, performing Kegels requires locating your pubococcygeus (PC) muscles, which control urine and semen flow, and erection firmness. Kegels also help you control your ejaculations better and help your orgasms last longer. Kegels for men and women can be done without tensing your buttocks with focus and practice.
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Locate your pelvic floor by inserting a finger inside of your vagina, then squeeze the muscles around your vagina. You should feel your vagina become tighter around your finger and feel your pelvic floor lift. Relax the muscles around your vagina, and feel your pelvic floor move downward.
Urinate, then try to stop urinating in midstream. If you can stop the flow of your urine, you have the basic Kegel move. Remember how stopping your urine flow feels for your Kegel exercises, but do not perform Kegel exercises while urinating--this will result in a weakened bladder, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Empty your bladder, then lie down on your back or get comfortable in a sitting position. Contract your pelvic floor muscles as you did with your finger and stopping your urine flow. Hold the contraction to the count of five, the relax to the count of five. Repeat the contractions four or five times, working toward 10 seconds or counts for each contraction and relaxing to the count of 10.
Avoid tensing your buttocks or thighs by placing your attention only on your pelvic floor muscles. Breathe freely throughout your Kegel exercises.
Perform Kegel exercises in three sets of 10 exercises each day. Since you can do Kegel exercises almost anywhere, you can fit Kegels into your schedule whenever you do something routine, such as watching TV or cooking.
Locate your PC muscles by stopping the flow of urine. Also, place a finger inside of your anus and try to tighten your anus--this represents your PC muscles. Pay attention to feeling the location of your PC muscles so you will not tighten your buttocks, thighs or abdomen. In fact, you need to keep your buttocks relaxed while performing your Kegels. Once you locate your PC muscles, you no longer need your finger or any part of your hands for Kegels.
Clench and release your PC muscles quickly for 10 seconds or to the count of 10. Relax for 10 seconds, then repeat the clenching and releasing for two more sets, relaxing in between for 10 seconds.
Perform 10 sets of quick clenching and releasing for 5 seconds, with a 5-second break in between each set.
Tighten PC muscles and hold for 30 seconds, then take a break for 30 seconds. Repeat three Kegel sets. Repeat all Kegel exercises each day for a week.
Tips and warnings
- Women can do Kegel exercises safely while pregnant, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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