Kegel exercises make your pelvic floor muscles stronger. These muscles control your urine flow and help hold your pelvic organs in place.
Both women and men can benefit from Kegel exercises.
Many factors can weaken the pelvic floor in women, such as pregnancy, childbirth, aging, and weight gain. The pelvic floor muscles support the womb, the bladder, and the bowels. If the muscles are weak, these pelvic organs may lower into a woman’s vagina. Besides being extremely uncomfortable, this can also cause urinary incontinence.
Men may also experience weakening in the muscles of their pelvic floor as they age. This can lead to incontinence of both urine and feces, especially if the man has had prostate surgery.
Finding the correct muscle can be tricky. Locate the muscles by trying to stop your urine midflow*. The muscles you use for this action are your pelvic floor muscles. Get used to how they feel when they contract and relax. Squeeze these muscles for 3 seconds, then relax for 3 seconds. Your stomach and thigh muscles should not tighten when you do this. Add 1 second each week until you can reach 10 seconds each time. Repeat 10 to 15 times per session, 3 times a week.
Using weighted Ben-wa or Kegal balls and devices are an excellent way to build the muscles.
Kegel exercises help to strengthen your vaginal muscles and can tone your loose vagina back to its pre-stretched state.
*You should use this method for learning purposes only. It isn’t a good idea to start and stop your urine regularly, or to frequently do Kegel exercises when you have a full bladder. Incomplete emptying of the bladder can raise your risk for a urinary tract infection (UTI).
The muscles of the pelvic floor hold the pelvic organs in place. You can notice the pelvic floor muscles most when you squeeze to keep yourself from urinating.
Kegel exercises primarily aid men with urinary incontinence. Besides preventing embarrassing urine leakage, they also decrease the urge to void. Secondly, they have been shown to help male sexual health by allowing some men’s erections to last longer when affected by sexual dysfunction and premature ejaculation. These benefits all equate to a better quality of life.
Prior to beginning the exercises, it is important to correctly locate the muscles. To achieve this, one can simply attempt to stop his urine flow midway through. The muscles allowing for the pause in urination are the ones targeted by the Kegel exercises.
The first technique requires a contraction of the anus muscles as if trying to hold in gas. The feeling of a pulling or lifting sensation on the anus tells you that you are performing the exercise correctly.
The second requires the use of a mirror in order to observe the movement of your penis vertically without moving the rest of your body. An elevator analogy can be used to illustrate the exercise. The anus, in this case, can represent an elevator. The goal of the exercise is to bring up the elevator over five seconds to its maximal level and then to bring it gradually back down to the resting level.
Often, they may use their abdominal or gluteal maximus (buttocks) muscles. It is thus important to become aware of which muscles are being contracted. It is also important to avoid holding the breath or crossing the legs.
How often should men perform Kegel exercises? To keep things simple, men should perform their first session in the morning and their second at night. A session comprises of 10-30 individual contractions and relaxation exercises. Each exercise should last 10 seconds divided into five seconds of contraction and five seconds of relaxation. Once a man excels at performing these, he can do them in different positions. Of the 10-30 exercises, he can do one-third while laying down, one-third while sitting, and one-third while standing. Counting out loud certainly helps, and as time goes by, many men are surprised at the ease with which they can perform the exercises that at first seemed unnatural to them.
There are so products that can be used to assist with building up your muscles, prostate massagers
Picture of a radical prostatectomy
Kegel for beginners –
- Kegel balls with inner weights are the simplest toys for beginners, just insert and go! The inner weights move when you move, causing the muscles to contract. These toys can be discreetly worn during everyday activities for long periods of time, and are so comfortable and fuss-free, many women forget they are working out.
Kegel for Intermediate Ben Wa Balls and Eggs –
- These free moving toys are inserted into the vagina, and held in place by the PC muscles. Materials range for smooth glass and steel to silicone
Kegel for Advanced Barbell and Dildo –
- These longer toys feature graduated ridges, and the toy is held in place with contractions.
Prostate Massagers for Men
- Prostate massagers are essential tools for male sexual health, and the same contractions used for proper prostate massage also benefit the pelvic floor muscles
(Courtesy of Healthwise, Men’s Health, Mayo Clinic and WebMD)