Have You Done Your Kegels? 6 Easy Exercises You Can Do at Home

by Staff

Whether it’s a chuckle, a sneeze, or a hearty laugh, if any of these daily occurrences leave you worrying about bladder control, it’s time to take proactive steps – and rest assured, you’re not alone in your plight. The latest data suggests over 60% of women experience at least one of the major symptoms of pelvic floor dysfunction.

Thankfully, there is an end in sight to your suffering, by adding in some easy exercises that will work wonders on your pelvic floor muscles. On top of that, these exercises provide the extra benefit of being easily performed in your own living space. Read on to find out exactly what you need to do.

What is the pelvic floor?

Before we get into the nuts and bolts, so to speak, let’s begin with a quick look at what the pelvic floor actually is. Understanding its crucial role in supporting internal organs and maintaining continence is essential before we begin exploring exercises we’ll explore.

The pelvic floor is a vital network located at the base of the pelvis, consisting of layers of muscle fibers, tendons, and ligaments. Together, they form a supportive structure like a hammock, stretching from the pubic bone to the tailbone. This structure plays a crucial role in supporting pelvic organs such as the bladder, uterus, and rectum, helping you to avoid leakage. 

Additionally, the pelvic floor stabilizes the pelvis, ensuring proper posture and coordination for activities like walking and standing. It doesn’t end there; the pelvic floor also has a significant role in sexual function and responsiveness. 

The benefits of Kegels

The good news is, like all the muscles in the body, the pelvic floor can be trained and strengthened drawing on a series of simple exercises that are easy to practice – Kegels. 

Named after Dr. Arnold Kegel, who introduced them in the 1940s, Kegel exercises target the pelvic floor muscles, and deliver a whole host of benefits for both men and women. Despite their importance, many people overlook Kegel exercises in their fitness routines. Strengthening these muscles can aid in preventing or alleviating issues such as incontinence. Moreover, they can also improve sexual health and even enhance your posture.

By performing Kegels regularly, you’ll soon start to see the benefits, such as…

  • Improved bladder control

Kegel exercises are crucial in strengthening the muscles responsible for bladder control. If you feel anxious every time you sneeze or go for a run, or perhaps you always need to know where the closest bathrooms are, it’s time to start integrating Kegels into your daily routine.

  • Enhanced sexual health

Toning your pelvic floor brings unexpected benefits such as increased sexual satisfaction. This applies to both men and women, so get practicing your Kegels!

  • Postpartum recovery

Pregnancy and giving birth take their toll on the pelvic floor. Kegels are an important factor in postpartum recovery for restoring pelvic floor strength and addressing any issues arising during childbirth. 

  • Protection from prolapse

Strengthening the pelvic floor provides additional support to pelvic organs, reducing the risk of pelvic organ prolapse, a painful and unpleasant condition where organs like the bladder or uterus descend into the vaginal canal.

6 easy Kegel exercises to do at home

Now you know why you should do them, let’s find out how:

1. The Classic Kegel:

  • Ensure you are sitting or lying down comfortably, with no disturbances. 
  • Start by squeezing your pelvic floor muscles as though you were trying to stop the flow of urine mid-stream. Now, you know which muscles to target.
  • If you are new to Kegels, begin by holding the squeeze for around 3 seconds, before releasing.
  • Repeat this cycle 10 times.
  • As your pelvic floor strengthens, increase the time to 5, and eventually 10 seconds. You can also repeat up to 15 times. 
  • A pelvic floor trainer is a great way to support you as you build up your pelvic floor strength.

2. Squats:

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward.
  • Keep your back straight, chest up, and core engaged.
  • Push your hips back and bend your knees, ensuring they track in line with your toes.
  • As you squat down breathe in, then engage your pelvic floor muscles as you come up and exhale.
  • Return to the standing position and release the Kegel contraction.
  • Gradually build up the number of squats, up to 15.

3. Seated Kegels:

  • Sit on a stable surface (not a bed) with your feet flat on the ground.
  • Concentrate on maintaining an upright posture.
  • Pull your pelvic muscles up and in.
  • Hold the contraction for 5 seconds (3 to begin with), then release.
  • Build up to being able to repeat 10-15 times.

4. Flutter Kicks:

  • Lie on your back and extend your legs outwards.
  • Begin by lifting your right leg slightly off the ground, while engaging your pelvic floor muscles.
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds, then bring back to the ground.
  • Repeat with your left leg.
  • Alternate legs in a flutter-kicking motion.
  • Try to keep your pelvic muscles stay engaged.
  • Continue for 30 seconds, building up gradually to two minutes.

5. The Bridge:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Raise your hips towards the ceiling, forming a straight, diagonal line from your shoulders to your knees.
  • Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles at the top of the bridge.
  • Lower your hips back down and repeat five times, building up to 10.

6. Kegel Ball Squeeze:

  • Sit comfortably on a hard chair, ensuring your back remains straight.
  • Place a small ball between your thighs.
  • Squeeze the ball with your thighs.
  • At the same time, engage your pelvic floor muscles.
  • Hold for 3 – 5 seconds, then release. 
  • Build up to repeating 10 times.

Pelvic floor health impacts many areas of life. Making small changes, such as incorporating these simple Kegel exercises into your routine, can yield significant benefits for your physical health and overall well-being. 

Whether you’re looking to address incontinence issues, maximize your postpartum recovery, enhance your sexual health or simply maintain a strong pelvic floor, dedicating a few minutes each day to these exercises can make all the difference. 

Start your Kegel journey today and look forward to reaping the benefits tomorrow!

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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