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Kegel exercises: Why not only women 50+ should practice them and how they will help men

Strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor was not given much attention in the past, but today it is a much-discussed topic. Pelvic floor muscles play a key role in supporting healthy urinary and reproductive organs. The best known and easiest way to strengthen them are Kegel exercises. It works against incontinence and other problems in both women and men, you can perform them almost anywhere and the effects will be seen in just a few weeks. What are Kegel exercises and how do they help?

It is easiest to do Kegel exercises lying down at first

| Photo: Shutterstock


To strengthen the pelvic floor

Kegel exercises are also known as pelvic floor strengthening exercises. They focus on the muscles that support the bladder, intestines and, in women, the uterus, the organs located in the pelvis. The exercises involve contracting and relaxing these muscles and are beneficial for both men and women.

“Kegel exercises can prevent or control urinary incontinence and other pelvic floor problems,” the health website explains Mayo Clinic.

Kegel exercises:

Source: Youtube

There are other ways to treat pelvic floor weakness, such as medication or surgery. However, Kegel exercises are still among the most popular therapies because you can do them almost anytime and anywhere: at work, while driving a car, while relaxing, or while watching TV.

This exercise was developed in the first half of the last century by an American gynecologist Arnold H. Kegel. In 1948, he introduced them as a non-surgical way to prevent leakage of urine in women.

His eighteen years of research clarified the influence of the pelvic floor muscles on the body. The conclusion of Kegel’s publication A Non-Surgical Method of Increasing the Tone of the Sphincters and Their Supporting Structures contains advice on how to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor.

If your stomach, lower back, or head hurts after Kegel exercises, you're probably holding your breath or tightening the wrong muscles.If your stomach, lower back, or head ache after Kegel exercises, you’re probably holding your breath or tightening the wrong musclesSource: Shutterstock

Who needs Kegel exercises?

“Anything that stresses your pelvic floor muscles can cause them to weaken and reduce support for your pelvic organs,” the hospital’s website explains Cleveland Clinic. Certain diseases or life events can weaken the pelvic muscles. Is part of them:

  • pregnancy
  • childbirth including caesarean section
  • overweight or obesity
  • pelvic surgery
  • aging, when the muscles of the pelvic floor, as well as the muscles in the anus, naturally weaken with age
  • excessive exertion with constipation or chronic cough
  • exercise, especially jumping, running and lifting heavy weights.

Men also suffer from a weakened pelvic floor and the problem of incontinence. Among other things, it can be the result of surgical removal of the prostate and conditions such as diabetes and overactive bladder.

“Kegel exercises can help you if you leak a few drops of urine when you sneeze, laugh, or cough, which is stress incontinence, or if you feel a sudden strong urge to urinate, but also when you leak stool,” the Mayo Clinic says.

If you do Kegel exercises regularly, experts say you can expect results – such as less frequent urination – within weeks to months.

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For lasting benefits, incorporate Kegel exercises into your daily routine. After consultation with a gynecologist, Kegel exercises can also be performed during pregnancy or after childbirth.

The effect of Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises can have four main benefits for human health and well-being, according to experts.

  • Improving bladder control and reducing the risk of incontinence.
  • Supporting the health of the reproductive organs.
  • Strengthening of pelvic floor muscles after childbirth. After childbirth, the pelvic floor muscles are often weakened. Kegel exercises are key to strengthening them and restoring normal function.
  • Improving sexual function and increasing sexual satisfaction: Strong pelvic floor muscles can improve sexual experience in both sexes, increase the intensity of orgasm and improve overall sexual health.

Kegel exercises in practice:

Technique and regularity are important

Performing Kegel exercises requires regular training. The key is to determine the right muscles to focus on, follow the correct exercise technique and do it regularly.

Many people have trouble with the right technique. “More than a third of women and men who do Kegel exercises are actually working their abs, glutes, or inner thighs,” the website states Harvard Health Publishing focused on health information.

According to him, these people are certainly doing a good thing for their physical condition, but they are not reaping the benefits of Kegel exercises.

How to do it?

  • Find the right muscles. To identify the pelvic floor muscles, stop in the middle of urination. Once you identify your pelvic floor muscles, you can exercise them in any position. “It’s easiest to do the exercises lying down at first,” says the Mayo Clinic website.
  • Perfect your technique. Imagine sitting on a stone and contracting your pelvic muscles as if you were lifting it. Try this for three seconds straight, then relax for three.
  • Keep your focus. You will get the best results if you focus only on contracting the pelvic floor muscles. “Be careful not to flex the muscles in your stomach, thighs or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Instead, breathe freely during exercise,” advises the Mayo Clinic.
  • Repeat three times a day. Aim for at least three sets of ten to 15 reps per day. When you can do the exercises lying down, you can also try them standing up, for example, while brushing your teeth, waiting in line, or sitting, for example, at work.

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Other than initially identifying the pelvic muscles, do not use Kegel exercises to stop and start urination. “Performing Kegel exercises while emptying the bladder can actually lead to incomplete emptying of the bladder – increasing the risk of urinary tract infection,” the doctors warn.

“Exercise shouldn’t hurt. If your stomach, lower back, or head hurts after Kegel exercises, you’re probably holding your breath or tightening the wrong muscles,” warns the Cleveland Clinic website. According to him, it is not good to overdo it with exercise. “If you exercise too often, or if you don’t need to, your muscles can become too tight or tight,” she notes.

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