Kegel exercises (pelvic floor exercises) are excellent means of strengthening the muscles that support the bladder and urethra. They are highly efficient when it comes to problems associated with incontinence and the urgency to urinate. These exercises are commonly prescribed to women suffering from urinary difficulties caused by pregnancy, aging and other factors but they are equally effective and recommended in men prior a prostatectomy.
Identifying Correct Pelvic Floor Muscles
The first step one should do prior starting with Kegel exercises is to identify the correct pelvic floor muscles. The most convenient way to do this is to stop the flow of the urine during the process of urination. If this is achieved the person is on the right track. Another way to identify the specific pelvic muscles is to try to stop passing gas. One should pay attention and try not to flex the abdominal or thigh muscles. Instead only the muscles of the buttocks and the rectum are supposed to be used. And finally, is is essential to relax and breathe normally during the entire process and never hold breath while exercising.
How to Perform Kegel Exercises?
Kegel exercises are best performed if one is sitting or lying down. They may be also performed while one is standing or walking. Once the person has properly identified the exact pelvic muscles she/ he should contract the muscles and hold them for three seconds. What follows is relaxation of also three seconds. This process is supposed to be repeated 10 times. Once the person gets used to exercising she/ he may move up to four-second contractions and rest and continue increasing the time until one becomes able to contract and relax for 10 seconds at a time.
The best effects are achieved if Kegel exercises are repeated three times through the day. These are very convenient exercises and can be easily performed even if we are doing something else. They can be easily performed almost anywhere, in the car, in the office, at the meeting, or lying in bed at night. The results are first noticed after 12 weeks of continuous exercise.
People who are having difficulties doing Kegel exercises may benefit from biofeedback training. A trained professional will place a small monitoring device in or around the urethral area. The person is asked to contract the pelvic floor muscles and the monitor will show if the correct muscles are contracted. Apart from identifying the actual muscles that are contracted these monitors can also show for how long the muscles are contracted.