So you understand the “why” behind doing Kegels and the importance of doing them. And now you are attempting Kegel exercises, but still have lots of questions. You may be asking yourself things such as: am I doing them right? how do I know if they are working? when do I do them and for how long? The following is a list of tips compiled to help you with your journey performing Kegels:
❖ Find the correct muscles first. This can be done by stopping urination midstream. When you stop urination, it is the pelvic floor muscles that you are using. Do not do this as an exercise on a regular basis though, but only as a tool to find the correct muscle group.
❖ Do the exercises with your bladder empty.
❖ Try not to compensate with other muscles. It is easy to “cheat” with other muscles in the stomach, buttocks and thighs. Try to keep these muscles relaxed as you isolate the pelvic floor muscles only.
❖ Remember to breathe as you do the exercises.
❖ Try squeezing around something. If having trouble, it can help to squeeze around something such as your finger, devices made specifically to help with Kegels, or your partner.
❖ Do both “fast twitch” and “slow twitch” contractions. This means do short, quick contractions as well as slow ones where you gradually tighten and hold for several seconds. The “fast twitch” contractions help retrain your body for when you need to quickly shut off the urine flow to prevent leakage, such as during a cough or sneeze. The “slow twitch” contractions help in times when you need to go to the bathroom, but won’t be able to get to one for a while.
❖ Make Kegels a part of your daily routine. Once you are doing the exercises correctly, you can do them while driving in the car, sitting at work, watching TV, brushing your teeth, making dinner, or other daily activities. If doing them correctly, no one will be able to tell you are doing them.
❖ Be easy on yourself. Like any new task, it takes time to learn what you are doing and get proficient at it. The best thing you can do is practice, practice, practice.
❖ Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If having trouble, let your doctor know and seek out help from a pelvic floor physical therapist who can help you. Your healthcare provider can give you feedback and help design a program specific to you.
Hopefully the above information answers some questions, builds on what you already know, or puts your mind at ease as you venture into performing Kegel exercises. Happy Kegeling!
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