What is the best moment for your pelvic floor exercise?

At some time or another you’ve probably received a recommendation from someone to regularly practice your Kegel exercises. These exercises are recommended for a myriad of reasons! They help tighten your vagina which can have a positive effect on your intimate well being, as well they help with sphincter control for both your urine and stool. Weak pelvic floor muscles can sometimes result in urinary incontinence or they can become overactive  causing pain and constipation.

To strengthen and learn how to control your pelvic floor muscles it’s crucial to regularly practice your pelvic floor exercises.

What are pelvic floor exercises?

In short, pelvic floor exercises help to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. They’re a meshwork of muscles that help maintain sphincter control and keep your vagina, uterus, bladder, and rectum in their place.

The most efficient exercise for your pelvic floor is the Kegel exercise. 

Before you try engaging your pelvic floor to perform your first Kegel, it’s important to first identify where exactly your pelvic floor muscles are located. To do this you can pretend to stop the flow of urine when peeing. The muscles that you’re engaging with are your pelvic floor muscles. Another way to assess this is when you use your pelvic floor muscles to prevent gas from escaping. The most effective way to use all your pelvic muscles is to contract the vagina, urinary sphincter, and anal sphincter all at once while at the same time not engaging your core muscles as this can be damaging to your pelvic floor.

Once you’ve been able to identify your pelvic floor muscles it becomes easier to engage them with various exercises. For one, let’s begin with Kegel exercises! You can perform Kegels in a seated or lying position.

  • In a comfortable position, attempt contracting your pelvic floor muscles as if you were holding a stream of urine. Hold this for about 5 seconds.
  • Slowly release (and be sure to release fully!) the contracted state and rest for another 5 seconds.
  • Repeat the contraction and relaxation cycles for a count of 10.

Since these exercises are relatively easy to perform, aim to do them at least 3 to 4 times a day.

Some other exercises and poses aside from Kegels can also engage your pelvic floor, helping strengthen these muscles in the process. These include performing the bridge pose, the happy baby pose, squats, and also mindful diaphragmatic breathing.

To learn more about Kegel exercises :

How often should I practice pelvic floor exercises?

It’s best to make your pelvic floor exercises a part of your daily routine. Similar to any other workout you perform, your Kegels are helping you strengthen an important set of muscles in your body. This also means that just like squats, curls, or any other exercise, Kegels are rendered ineffective if they’re not performed regularly and potentially damaging if not performed correctly.

Aim to perform your Kegels at least three times a day. You can pick which times work best for you so that you don’t forget to perform them. The great thing about Kegels is that they can be performed anywhere! You could be sitting at a desk, on your lunch break, or flipping through Netflix. Simply put, there’s no specific or perfect time to perform your pelvic floor exercises. They work best as long as you’re doing them daily ;)

Once you pick your specific time of the day to perform your Kegels, you’re less likely to forget as they become a part of your daily routine. For the few minutes that you perform your pelvic floor exercises, be sure to give it the focused attention it requires and make sure you’re paying attention to your breathing as well.

While you’re performing other exercises, be mindful of the ones that are engaging your pelvic floor. Heavyweights or high-impact activities, especially if you’re not trained to perform them, can result in injuries to your pelvic floor.

Is it possible to overdo pelvic floor exercises?

It might take some practice to perfect your Kegels. Sometimes pelvic floor strengthening exercises are advised by healthcare providers for people who come in with pelvic organ prolapse, particularly uterine or rectal prolapse. During this visit, a physical therapist will guide you through the first set of pelvic floor exercises.

Even if you have a healthy pelvic floor, it’s always recommended that you consult with a physical therapist to guide you through your first set of pelvic floor exercises. In essence, these exercises aren’t only about squeezing your vagina or urinary sphincter, but instead, contracting them all together and then syncing these with your breathing. But don’t forget that the relaxation phase in between each of these steps is just as important.

If done incorrectly it can result in spasms, strain, and tension that builds up over time.

Performing your pelvic floor exercises is as important as regularly performing your push-ups, squats, or even bicep curls. To be able to strengthen a muscle for optimum performance, regular training is required. A strong and healthy pelvic floor can help reduce chances of incontinence, enhance sexual experience, assist with smoother vaginal deliveries and also limit possible future injuries to your pelvic floor.
However, like everything else, it should be performed in moderation. When in doubt don’t hesitate to seek the advice of your healthcare professional.

Article written by
Michelle Frank, Medical Doctor
Director: Health & Wellness at Naima

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