Kegel exercises – the ‘secret squeeze’ for women that most don’t do, or don’t do correctly. In preparing to do pelvic floor muscle work, the first thing women usually ask us is, “What exactly am I supposed to be squeezing?”
Think of the floor as your body’s foundation. The pelvic floor muscles overlap to span the area between the pelvic bones, both front-to-back and side-to-side. The pelvic floor muscles span the area between the sides of the pelvic bone. When you are standing, this floor of muscle support is similar to a brand-new hammock in that it gives with weight, has the ability to stretch, but provides good support. An older and well-used hammock may tend to stretch and sag under heavier weight.
The health and strength of your pelvic floor is important during all life stages. After pregnancy and childbirth, normal aging, or with weight gain and obesity, the pelvic floor muscles in women tend to relax and sag. Few women actually learn to correctly exercise and rehabilitate this group of muscles, even though there may have been significant stress during pregnancy and childbirth or tissue damage during surgery. Also, the hormonal changes associated with menopause may contribute to a loss of muscle strength.
To help you perform a PFM contraction, or “Kegel,” think about trying to stop a stream of urine. Because we want to draw up and in, some women think about gently drawing a tampon into their vagina. Additionally, some women find it helpful to imagine their pelvic floor lifting upward like an elevator.
Once you feel like you’ve got the hang of it: try this routine: lift up and in and hold for 10 seconds, then relax for 10 seconds. Repeat this 10 times. If you can’t hold for 10 seconds, hold as long as you can and then relax for the same amount of time.
For those of you who have trouble remembering to kegel, Women’s Health Foundation designed the “Pelvic Power Lift,” which is a handy app you download to your desktop and cues you to kegel twice a day. The Pelvic Power Lift is SFW (safe for work!), it’s discreet, and your cubicle neighbors won’t think anything of our mascot, Tilly, going up an elevator.
The coolest feature of the widget is the customization. You can program the widget to open on your computer desktop up to two times a day.
Note: the first time you download the widget, you will be instructed to download Yahoo Widgets first. Don’t be scared, it doesn’t mean your desktop will be littered with other icons – unless you want it to. We try to bring you cool innovations but as a non-profit, it was more economical for us to build the widget within Yahoo Widgetland.
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Thank you for reminding all women, who may visit this site, of the Kegel exercises. Doing these exercises correctly and regularly following childbirth is so important for good pelvic floor tone.
Now with an "app for that", we have no excuse not to Kegel.
MaryannDecember 14, 2011 - 5:23pm