The pelvic floor muscles, also known as kegels, are all the muscles surrounding the pelvic floor organs, i.e. urethra, bladder, rectum, and the intestines. It also includes the uterus, cervix, and vagina in women.
These muscles weaken, especially in men after prostate surgery and women after childbirth. It also becomes evident with age, so kegel exercises are important for people of all age groups and genders.
These muscles are responsible for bladder control, stabilizing your trunk, and even contributing to sexual health and function.
Exercises for the these muscles are simple and easy to perform, and can be added to your daily routine with ease. These are exercises you need to perform regularly to avoid these muscles getting weak.
Best exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor
It’s really not that difficult! Perform these exercises daily to see improvements in the functions of the pelvic floor muscles within no time!
1) Kegel exercises
Kegel exercises were developed in 1940s to help women regain control of their bladder post pregnancy. They are simple and involve contracting and releasing your pelvic floor muscles. To find your kegels, imagine you are stopping the flow of urine from your body. The muscles you squeeze are the kegels.
• Lay down on the floor with your knees apart, or even sit down comfortably on a chair.
• Contract your pelvic floor muscles. Hold the tension for 5 to 10 seconds.
• Relax the pelvic floor muscles completely for another 5 seconds.
• Proceed to follow this pattern of contraction & relaxation 10 to 15 times.
2) Glute bridge
Glute bridges are an effective way to target the pelvic floor muscles and strengthen them. It also helps correct pelvic tilt and straighten posture.
• Lay down on your back and bend your legs, pointing your knees to the ceiling. Keep your feet hip-distance apart and place your palms flat down on either side of you.
• Push your hips up while keeping your shoulders and feet firm on the ground. Align your hips with your knees and shoulders, using your hands to stabilise yourself.
• Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds.
3) Butterfly pose
This is a good stretch to open up the hips as well, to improve mobility in the lower body.
• Sit down on the floor and bring your feet together, close to your body by bending your knees and pointing them outward.
• Actively push your knees towards the floor while keeping your back straight and shoulders tall
• Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds.
4) Low Lunge
The low lunge stretch provides a stretch to your entire leg and hip flexor complex. It helps strengthen and stretch the pelvic floor muscles as well.
• Stand straight with your feet together.
• Bring your right leg out and place it about a foot ahead of you. Lower your body into a lunge position and bring your left knee to the floor.
• Hinge your upper body over your right knee and lower yourself to get a deeper stretch. You may use your palms on either side of your right foot to remain stable.
• Hold the pose for 20 to 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.
The bird-dog is an effective exercise to improve stability in the trunk and lower body.
• Get on your hands and knees. Brace your core and keep your back straight.
• Raise your right arm and straighten it in front of you. Straighten your left leg out behind you as well. Point your fingers and toes out, in the opposite directions.
• Bring your right elbow and left knee in toward your body and crunch your abs, before returning them to the starting position.
• Repeat this movement with your left arm and right leg. Continue the pattern until you have completed 8 to 10 reps on each side.
There we go! These are the simplest exercises you can add to your routine. Remember to practice these regularly for optimal results. Also, be mindful of your eating habits and be sure to consume adequate amounts of water to keep yourself in tip-top shape!
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