Get tips on pelvic floor exercises (or kegel exercises) and the correct way to perform them.
Pelvic floor exercises: how are they performed?
Kegel exercises, the more commonly known term for pelvic floor exercises (PFE), are exercises designed to increase muscle strength and elasticity in the female pelvis.
Identifying the right muscles to perform Kegel exercises
To identify your pelvic floor muscles, do either one of these two tests:
- As you urinate, try stopping the flow of urine midway. You are contracting your pelvic floor muscles to stop the urine flow.Then relax your pelvic floor muscles to completely empty your bladder. Do this test once a week to check if your pelvic floor muscles are getting stronger. The stronger they are, the quicker you will be able to stop the urine flow.
- Insert one finger in your vagina. Contract your pelvic floor muscles and feel the grip around your finger.
How to perform Kegel exercises
- Sitting or standing upright with thighs slightly apart, simultaneously tighten the urethra, vagina and anus.
- Lift and draw up the pelvic floor muscles inside you. Hold this squeeze and lift 5-10 seconds. For a start, you may only be able to hold the contraction for 1-2 seconds. Over a period of weeks, aim to gradually increase contraction time to 10 seconds.
- Let go slowly and rest for 10 seconds before starting on the next contraction.
- Repeat four times.
- Now do five short, fast but strong contractions.
- Do this exercise routine at least three times every day. Slowly increase the repetitions to 10 holding contractions and 10 fast contractions.
Do Kegel exercises daily
You are never too young or too old to exercise your pelvic floor muscles. Exercise these muscles on a daily basis, and whenever you are sitting or standing, e.g. while waiting for the bus, waiting at the traffic lights or standing in a queue.