Ever since Gwenyth Paltrow’s jade yoni eggs came along, kegel exercises have been all the rage. Though the concept itself isn’t new, word is getting around about the benefits of kegel exercises through TikTok challenges and fancy gadgets to help you practice them.
But what are they and why should you be doing them?
Kegel exercises are simple clench and release exercises that help to strengthen your pelvic floor. You know the feeling when you have to go to the toilet but you’re trying to hold it in? That’s your pelvic floor working for you, and you can control these muscles at any time.
The muscles of your pelvic floor form a sort of “hammock” at the bottom of your pelvis that holds your organs in place, so it’s clear why having a strong pelvic floor is pretty important. Strengthening these muscles and tissues is particularly important for control over your bladder, bowels and reproductive organs, but it can also improve your organs.
As we age, our pelvic floor is weakened just as the rest of our muscles are. Further contributing factors are childbirth, pregnancy and weight gain. Depending on how much this area weakens your reproductive organs can even drop lower down in your body, which is extremely uncomfortable and can even cause urinary incontinence.
We know how beneficial they are, so now it’s time to learn how to do them. There are many ways in which you can practice kegel exercises, and the great thing about them is that they can be done discreetly anywhere once you get a little practice.One way to practice is by investing in a kegel egg or other device.
Usually spherical in shape, you insert a lightly weighted device into your vagina and try to hold it there for as long as you can. Holding it will require the use of your pelvic floor muscles. Kegel devices often come in sets, going up in weight to train your muscles to become stronger and stronger just as you would increase your weights at the gym. Be sure to thoroughly research what type of device you’re getting.
Though jade eggs are popular, they’re made of a porous material that over time can gather bacteria and cause UTIs, yeast infections and other unpleasant afflictions.
The most popular and easiest way to do kegel exercises is by simply clenching and releasing. When you first start out, lay on your back. Tense your pelvic floor muscles for a count of three, then relax them for a count of three. Repeat this process until you’ve completed ten repetitions. Do this daily to increase how long you’re able to clench. With more practice you could even exercise to the beat of your favourite music!
Doctors recommend that you don’t do kegel exercises while on your period. If you feel pain in your abdomen or back, stop! This is a sign that you’re doing them incorrectly and potentially harming yourself. Your pelvic floor is the only thing that should be tensed, leaving your abs, buttocks and back loose. Don’t overwork your muscles either as this will make them weaker, which is totally counterproductive.
Be safe and give them a try!