4 New Ways To Do Kegels
Kegels are exercises that tone and strengthen the pubococcygius, or PC muscle—the muscle surrounding the opening of the vagina. A strong PC muscle is vital to the health of the reproductive organs. Like any other muscle in the body, the PC muscle needs regular exercise to remain firm, especially after childbirth or menopause. When done correctly, “Kegeling” can alleviate up to 90 percent of stress incontinence and heighten pleasure and sensitivity during intercourse.
You can find your PC muscle by tightening the vaginal opening, as if you were stopping the flow of urine. Or you can locate the muscle by putting a finger in your vagina and squeezing until you feel the muscle tighten around your finger. Try to isolate the PC muscle by keeping the muscles of the buttocks, thighs, and stomach as relaxed as possible.
Although Kegel exercises don’t require any special equipment, some women feel they get a firmer contraction when there’s something for the muscles to contract around. This is especially true if the muscles have already lost some strength and tone.
Here’s a simple, four-part routine designed to strengthen and tone the entire PC muscle:
1. Simple Squeeze
Squeeze the PC muscle and hold for three to five seconds, then release. Relax for the same number of seconds (for instance, a three second squeeze, followed by a three-second rest). Repeat for a total of five repetitions. Work up to ten five-second squeezes, three times per day.
2. Elevator Squeeze
Slowly contract your PC muscle on a count of one through five, and visualize it lifting up as if there were a cord dropping straight down from the top of your head pulling it up through the center of your body. Remember to keep your buttocks and abdominal muscles relaxed. Visualize your pelvic floor rising like an elevator with each count until you’ve reached the fifth floor, and then let it gradually relax back down, counting backward to one. At first, it may be difficult to keep the muscle lifting all the way to five. Take it up as far as you can and hold it steady for the remainder of the five seconds. Repeat five times.
3. Easy Flutter
Squeeze for one second, relax for one second, and squeeze again. Squeeze and release ten times, just slowly enough that you can still distinguish the contraction from the release. If you listen to the radio in your car, measure your squeezes/releases with the beat of the music.
4. Quick Flutter
Squeeze and release as quickly as you can without stopping. If the contraction and release start to get jumbled, focus on the contraction. In the beginning, it may feel more like a stutter than a flutter, but with time you’ll be as graceful as a bird. Do ten quick repetitions.
Finish your Kegel routine with a final set of five Elevator Squeezes, slowly lifting and lowering the muscle with controlled movement.
Do the entire routine three times a day. Once you get the hang of it, you can literally do these exercises anywhere! You may want to gradually increase either the number of repetitions or the time you hold the contraction. If you don’t have time to do the whole routine, make sure you do at least one set of Elevator Squeezes and one of Quick Flutters three times a day.
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