Thrust, Squeeze, Repeat
Kick off the new year with more than just Kegels
The muscles that make up our pelvic floor help support our organs and keep our bodies stable. They’re subtle superstars that work around the clock, but they often go neglected in our workout routines. And without regular love and attention, they can deteriorate — impacting our balance, bladder control, loss of vaginal sensation, and even symptoms that mimic a yeast infection.
This year, resolve to give your pelvic floor muscles a little more TLC by working them into your fitness routine.
Can’t I just stick to Kegels?
Kegels are a great way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles — if you’re doing them correctly, that is. The best way to ensure an effective Kegel session is to lie on your back, sit, or stand. Then pretend you’re interrupting your flow of urine by tightening the muscles you’d normally use to do so. Hold the contraction for three to five seconds, then relax for the same amount of time. Ten reps is a great number to aim for — just make sure you inhale and exhale through each contraction (that’s the tricky part).
While Kegels are probably the most popular pelvic floor exercise, there are several other great options you can alternate with or add to your routine for even better results. Don’t worry — promise they’re easy, quick, and don’t require any exercise equipment. In fact, all you have to do is breathe.
Sounds like my kind of workout. Does yawning count?
It sure does — though not in the way you might think.
First, lay on your back and place your hands on your tummy. Inhale slowly, filling your abdomen with air.
Here’s where it gets a little weird: as you inhale, imagine your vagina opening wide, as if it’s yawning. As you release the air in your lungs, pull in your abdominal muscles.
You can work on this exercise in different positions if lying down doesn’t quite do it for you. Try it sitting, standing, lying on your stomach or side, or on your hands and knees until it feels comfortable.
Here’s another great exercise you can do in your dining room or home office — all you need is a table.
Bend over a sturdy desk or dining table with your hands placed flat on the surface. Relax all the muscles in your abdomen, letting your belly fall naturally.
Next, take a few slow, deep breaths to let your pelvic floor expand and loosen up. Do this for five to ten minutes daily if your schedule allows. It works wonders after a workout or just before bed, as it helps unclench your pelvic floor muscles and relax your mind.
Here’s a bonus: these exercises can be performed while you’re pregnant, too!
What happens if I neglect my pelvic floor muscles?
As we mentioned earlier, a weak or dysfunctional pelvic floor could lead to issues like incontinence and reduced sensitivity in your vagina.
It can even cause discomfort that mimics symptoms of vaginal infections. Think itching, dryness, and even burning. If this happens to you, it’s important to first rule out an actual infection. Our vaginal pH testing kits can help suggest whether you might be suffering from a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. If your results don’t indicate an active infection, your symptoms could indicate pelvic floor dysfunction.
Our pelvic floors weaken with age, but other life events — including childbirth — can also have an impact. Incorporating easy and effective pelvic floor exercises, like Kegels and diaphragmatic breathing, can help you stay stable and free of discomfort in your most private areas.
Exercises sourced from: