Kegels are the muscles of your pelvic floor that support the uterus, bladder and bowel. These muscles, named after Dr. Arnold Kegel, can be weakened by factors such as childbirth, obesity, aging, chronic coughing or abdominal surgery. But there are ways to help strengthen them, which can improve bladder control as well as your sex life.
Here, Lesley Carr, a urologist for Sunnybrook Health Sciences, talks about vaginal weight-lifting and how to keep your Kegels strong.
1. You can find those elusive Kegel muscles while you’re passing urine by contracting and stopping the stream. It’s not recommended one do this regularly.
2. If you’re the touchy-feely sort, you can also locate your Kegels by putting a finger in your vagina and feeling the muscles tightening and drawing up around the finger.
3. Once you’ve found your Kegels and your bladder is empty, you’re ready for your vagina workout. This can be done in a sitting or lying position by contracting your pelvic muscles for three seconds and then relaxing them for three seconds. Repeat these ten times.
4. Do four sets of these a day starting with a small number of repetitions with the goal of getting up to say four sets of at least 40. Try doing these throughout the day like when you’re Twittering or getting a manicure.
5. Once you’ve mastered the three-second contractions, try doing it for four-seconds until you eventually get up to 10 seconds. This should be done over the course of several weeks.
6. Be careful not to tense up the muscles in your abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Focus on tightening the muscles in your vagina and rectum.
7. If you’re really hardcore and want to start pumping iron with your privates, you can buy various weighted cones to put in your vagina while you walk around doing your daily activities. This requires you contract your Kegels in order to hold the cones in. As if life isn’t hard enough!
8. You could even get a personal Kegel trainer of sorts. There are physiotherapists trained to help with the pelvic floor exercises. They can use tools like biofeedback where they put a little probe up your hooha that reads whether you’re finding and contracting the muscle. It tells you how strongly you’re doing it.
9. It’s important to work Kegel muscle training into a continuous daily routine. If you stop, these muscles may regress and get weaker just like when you stop going to the gym.
10. For people with bladder incontinence Kegel fitness is a much more natural way to build muscle strength than popping pills. Along with a better bladder is the added benefit of better sex and bigger orgasms. Who wouldn’t want that, really?