Kegel exercises are simple contraction movements that you can do in order to tone the muscles of your pelvic floor. As horse riders we are used to endure so much, but our intimate health issues shouldn't be one of them. It's time to start taking care of ourselves so we can take care of our horses.
Many factors may weaken the muscles of the pelvic floor, such as pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, aging, excessive effort due to constipation, chronic cough, being overweight and even the practice of high impact sports like horse riding.
You may benefit from Kegel exercises if:
- You lose a few drops of urine leak when you sneeze, laugh, or cough (stress incontinence)
- You have a sudden, strong urge to urinate just before you lose a large amount of urine (urge urinary incontinence)
- You can't hold stool (fecal incontinence)
Kegel exercises can also be done during pregnancy or after delivery to try to improve symptoms as well as to prevent them. In any case it is recommended to go to the doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
How to do Kegel exercises
To get started:
Find the right muscles. There are some ways to identify the pelvic floor muscles, one of them is to try to stop or slow the flow urine halfway by emptying the bladder. This test may help you identify the muscles around the front passage which control the flow of urine. It is not recommended as a regular exercise.
Once you have identified your pelvic floor muscles, you can do the exercises in any position, although it will be easier to do them lying down at first.
Perfect your technique. To do Kegel exercises, imagine that you are sitting on a marble and contract your pelvic muscles as if you were lifting the marble. Try doing this for three seconds at a time; then rest on the count of three.
Stay focused. For best results, focus on tightening only your pelvic floor muscles. Pay attention not to flex the muscles of the abdomen, thighs or buttocks. Avoid holding your breath. Breathe normally during exercises.
Repeat this 3 times a day. Try to do at least 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions a day.
Don't get used to using Kegel exercises to start and stop the stream of urine. Doing Kegel exercises while emptying your bladder can actually cause incomplete emptying of the bladder, increasing the risk of a urinary tract infection.
When should I do the Kegel exercises?
Make Kegel exercises part of your daily routine. You can do Kegel exercises discreetly almost any time, whether you're sitting at your desk or relaxing on the sofa.
I have problems doing the exercises!
If you have trouble doing Kegel exercises, don't be shy about asking for help. Your doctor or other healthcare provider can give you important comments so you can learn how to isolate and exercise the correct muscles.
When will the results be seen?
If you do Kegel exercises regularly, you can expect to see results, such as less frequent urine leakage, in a few weeks or months, depending on each person. To continue getting benefits, incorporate Kegel exercises as a permanent part of your daily routine.