Kegel exercises are often exclusively associated with women, especially those pregnant and new mothers to help tighten their loose vaginal muscles in the pelvic floor area (pelvic diaphragm). The workout is also recommended for women who suffer from urinary incontinence, and to prevent a prolapsed uterus.
The pelvic diaphragm is comprised of different muscle groups—pubococcygeus, puborectalis, and ileococcygeus, all working simultaneously to manage organs like the abdomen, colon, and bladder. The muscular partitition also controls urination and bowel movements.
But then again, women are not just the sole beneficiaries of this method. Some men may find relief in kegel exercises from health conditions that may arise as they age.
A recent report from Harvard Health Publications revealed that the aging man's pelvic floor area tends to get weak or tense, causing a few issues like urinary leakage, bowel issues, and even erection problems.
Ever wonder why coughing, sneezing, and laughing are sometimes accompanied by leaking urine? This is under the stress incontinence symptoms. If during an activity you anticipate something or get excited, a sudden uncontrollable urge to pee might be felt.
Men's sexual health—erections, ejaculations, and orgasms—may also be affected by a debilitating pelvic diaphragm, which can be brought about by a prostate surgery, constipation, or smoking.
On the other hand, tightened pelvic floor muscles can be caused by prolonged sedentary activity, (couchsurfing), muscle tension and stress, and musculoskeletal problems. These may result in pelvic pain, urinary urgency, and sudden aching in the back, hip, and even genital areas. Pre- and post-coital discomfort is another indication.
According to Mark Christopher Caron, strength and conditioning coach of the Loyola Meralco Sparks Football Club and lecturer in University of the Philippines, the first step of a kegel exercise is locating the pelvic floor muscles.
One method is imagining you are holding your pee. Another is squeezing your anus like controlling your bowel movement. Do these only to find your muscles; repetition could damage your urethra and rectum.
After locating it, hold the contraction for 5 seconds, 10 to 20 times. Your goal is to do at least 3 sets per day. Develop your technique until it becomes a reflex action. Stay consistent with the workout for a couple of weeks, even until two months or so.
"As you gain more activation on the area, you can go for a 10 then 20-second hold," Caron explains. "Remember: do not involve the butt, legs, and abdominal muscles while doing the kegel. Also, do it gradually."
Coach Mark reiterates that the muscles on the pelvic floor help control urine flow and prevent urinary incontinence. "I'm also promoting it to improve fecal incontinence and boost sexual health."
Take time in finding the right muscle before proceeding with the workout. When not carried out correctly, this exercise may do more harm than good, which is why Coach Mark recommends seeking the approval of your physician before doing so, especially for men who have health conditions.
Kegel exercises need not to be done inside a gym and using any equipment. All you need is a trusty mat to lie on, and you're on your way to saying goodbye to sudden urine leaks and erection woes.