Kegel exercises: when are they recommended and what do they consist of?

Los exercises of Kegel They are also known as the ‘invisible exercises’ because they are performed in the pelvic floor area, however, its advantages are multiple both for pregnant women as for those both young and middle-aged women who have bowel control problems or loss of urine.

In the case of pregnancy, they are recommended to be carried out before, during and after childbirth, since they are perfect both for relaxing and for tone the pelvic floor, that is, through a series of contraction and relaxation movements all the muscles that support organs such as the bladder, rectum or uterus are strengthened. “These exercises consist of contracting the pelvic floor muscles up and in. You have to hold the contraction for a few seconds, relax and repeat. It is important to squeeze and lift, but not push to avoid possible damage. Over time, the rhythm and duration of contractions and rest can be adjusted to improve the routine and its results”, he explains to us from Andrea Batlle, physiotherapist specialized in pelvic floor and director of the ABFisioterapia clinic (Barcelona) and collaborator of Intimina.

When are Kegel exercises indicated?

As we anticipated, the exercises of Kegelwhich bear their name in honor of their creator, Dr. Arnold Kegel (1894-1981), a gynecologist who realized that women’s muscles became very weak after childbirth and devised a series of exercises to recover the strength of the pelvic floor.

Far from what is usually thought, they are not only recommended for pregnant women or for childbirth and postpartum preparation, but are intended for all those women who have urinary incontinence or sphincter retention problems thanks to the benefits they promote. And it is that, as the pelvic floor expert physical therapist tells us: “The exercises of Kegel They are not only indicated for middle-aged women or those who have given birth vaginally. A weakened pelvic floor can affect women in their twenties and even adolescents, so it is important to make an assessment to check their condition. For this reason, the exercises Kegel they are important and should be done regularly from an early age. In any case, it should be noted that it is important to have had a prior assessment of the pelvic floor by a specialized physiotherapist”.

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Some of the most common examples in which it is indicated to perform Kegel exercises are the following situations:

  • When a few droplets of urine escape when sneezingcough or laugh…
  • You have a strong urge to urinate right before you go to the bathroom, known as urge urinary incontinence.
  • Or when you can’t hold gas or even feces.

What are all the benefits they bring?

The physical therapist tells us that the fundamental benefits of the exercises of Kegel son:

  • To tone and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, responsible for providing support to the uterus, urethra and intestines and control the sphincters.
  • They are also key to a healthy pregnancy, delivery and postpartum recovery.
  • It is important accompany the treatment of Kegel exercises with the assessment of the pelvic floor with a specialized physiotherapist.

Specifically, when we talk about performing these exercises during pregnancy, it is recommended to practice them with some regularity from the second trimester of pregnancy, as well as in the postpartum stage. “After the changes suffered in childbirth and postpartum, it will be important to improve bladder control, control of the anal sphincter, as well as Strengthen and recover all the affected perineal muscles. These are some of the advantages that pregnant and postpartum women will obtain with Kegel exercises and their incorporation into the daily routine”, they say from the Federation of Midwives Associations in Spain.

In addition, from this federation they also ensure the following benefits in the following cases:

  • improve the symptoms produced by pelvic organ prolapsesThey also reduce the risk of suffering from them.
  • During menopause, prevents pelvic floor dysfunctions derived from hormonal changes that weaken the tissues.
  • In young athletes, by toning the pelvic floor, the impacts that sport produces on this musculature are counteracted. In the long term, the risk of urinary incontinence and other dysfunctions is prevented.
  • To improve and promote sexual relations.
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Can they be done from home?

“The best thing about exercising Kegel is that you can do them sitting, standing or lying down, in addition, you can practice them at any time and place. For those women who need additional help when it comes to executing them correctly, exercisers and smart devices such as KegelSmart and the spheres with weights For glass They can be of great help”, recommends the specialized physiotherapist.

While, for their part, from the federation of midwives associations they give us another series of tips to carry out these exercises correctly, before starting to do them:

  • Find the correct musclesto identify them stop urination halfway.
  • It’s very important maintain a correct posture while performing the exercises (spine elongated, pelvis in neutral position).
  • Must breathe naturally when you contract and relax your pelvic floor, without holding your breath.
  • The pelvic floor musculature must be work locally. Kegel exercises should not be confused with squeezing the gluteals, adductors, or rectus abdominis muscles.
  • Repeat it 3 times a day. Try to do at least 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions a day, it is important to rest between sets.
  • Finally, emphasize that before starting to do this type of exercise it is necessary for a physical therapist assess the state of your pelvic floor and be this one who teaches and recommends you the exercises to do.



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