Let me just preface this by saying this is for ALL the ladies out there! Young, old, single, married, mamas, and grandmamas…
In the past, I hated using the words “Kegel” and “pelvic floor.” When I was teaching classes I would get a little embarrassed when I had to talk about the pelvic floor and I could feel my students tense up because they were feeding off my energy. The only thing I hated more than talking about Kegels was doing them! I could feel my pelvic floor contract, but I didn’t know if it was actually helping in any way. I am the type of person who wants to see results. I need to see my arms become more defined or my tummy shrink. With pelvic floor exercises there is nothing to see. It is all about feeling.
When did my perspective on pelvic floor exercise change? After I had a baby… sometime between the treadmill and the bathroom...I noticed my pelvic floor was not holding up the way it was supposed to, and I realized I should have been doing these funny little contractions more often. My midwife was SO right when she told me I should be doing 150 a day. So I started doing them, and now at 9 months postpartum, exercises like running, jumping jacks, and burpees are no longer a problem.
Don’t stop reading if you are not on the baby making journey! Performing Kegels (named after Dr. Arnold Kegel who was a pioneer in pelvic floor work) has helped women, with or without children, improve incontinence at various stages of life… as well as improving the frequency and intensity of orgasms. Score!
The pelvic floor muscle is like a hammock that holds your organs in place. Running, jumping, and giving birth can cause these muscles to weaken, allowing your organs to shift around. This puts undue pressure on your bladder. No one wants shifting organs or pee-pee pants, right? Below are a few exercises you can do anywhere to help keep everything “down there” in great shape.
Before you begin, let’s find the pelvic floor. Imagine you are stopping the flow of urine mid-pee (Don’t try to do this when you are actually going to the bathroom. It can cause urinary tract infections!). That pulling up sensation is what you are looking for. Another helpful way to think of it would be to imagine an elevator rising up from the space between your urethra and your anus. The elevator is lifting. Not lowering! You should not feel your thighs or abdomen working while you perform these exercises.
Sit in a comfortable position. Take a big breath in. On your exhale pull up and in on your pelvic floor muscles. Your hold may only last for 3 seconds when you are starting out, but with time you should be able to hold the contraction for a 10 count. Repeat 5 to 10 rounds.
Sit in a comfortable position. Take a deep breath in. On your exhale contract your pelvic floor in short pulses 10 times. Repeat 5 to 10 rounds.