One Exercise All Women Need To Do and Why
My research has convinced me that there is one exercise all women need to do, starting right now. This exercise is so easy, you can do it just about anywhere, at anytime. In fact, I’m doing it while I’m keyboarding this article.
You may have guessed that the exercise all women need to do is Kegels, but simply guessing the right answer isn’t good enough. Women need to do Kegel exercises and practice them every day.
The importance of doing Kegel exercises increases as women age, but that doesn’t mean if you’re twenty-something you should delay—start now! Every day you do Kegels, you are taking control of your body and your health, for now and the future.
What are Kegel exercises?
First of all, however, let’s review what Kegel exercises are. They involve constricting the muscle (called the pubococcygeus [PC] muscle) that stretches from the pubic bone to the tail bone, forms the floor of the pelvic cavity, and supports the pelvic organs.
To identify your PC muscle, stop the flow of urine the next time you go to the bathroom. If the flow stops (or nearly stops), you have found the correct muscle. This is the muscle you want to constrict when doing your Kegels.
To do Kegels, simply tighten your PC muscle, hold the contraction for five seconds, then relax for five seconds. Repeat this cycle four to five times, three times a day or more.
After you feel comfortable holding the contraction for five seconds, increase it to ten seconds with a ten-second relaxation. Do not tighten your abdominal, buttock, or thigh muscles when doing Kegels. Also, breathe naturally; do not hold your breath.
To help you get into the habit of doing Kegels daily, choose an activity or habit you have and associate it with the exercise. For example, some women do Kegels when they first wake up in the morning, during lunch break, and before they go to bed.
Other suggestions to help you remember:
- Before every meal
- During your commute to and from work and before bed
- During morning and afternoon breaks at work and on the way home
- Every hour on the hour at work
Why doing Kegels is important
A woman’s pelvic floor muscles can become weak because of obesity, pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, aging, chronic coughing, and excessive straining from constipation. As a result, women can experience urine leakage (urinary incontinence) when they have a strong, sudden urge to urinate or when they sneeze, laugh, or cough.
Performing Kegels on a regular basis can help reduce or even prevent these embarrassing events. Kegel exercises are also recommended for dealing with fecal incontinence.
Another condition frequently not discussed when mentioning Kegel exercises is uterine prolapse. Also known as pelvic uterine prolapse or a dropped uterus, this condition affects millions of women every year, and more than 200,000 surgeries to correct uterine prolapse are performed in the United States annually.
Uterine prolapse is a condition in which the uterus drops down into or protrudes out of the vagina. Although uterine prolapse usually affects postmenopausal women, it’s never too early to start strengthening the PC muscle to help prevent this uncomfortable and unpleasant condition.
Yet another reason Kegel exercises are recommended for all women is that they can improve sexual pleasure. Women who practice Kegels regularly may improve their ability to climax, have more intense contractions during orgasm, and improve their partner’s pleasure as well.
Kegel exercises can be done just about anywhere—no sweat or workout equipment necessary! If you’re not doing Kegels, don’t you think it’s time to start for your health…and your sex life!
Jelovsek JE et al. Pelvic organ prolapse in women: Choosing a primary surgical procedure. UpToDate 2015 Nov
Perkins KE, King MC. Geriatric gynecology. Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America 2012 Nov; 30(4): 1007-19