One muscle everyone usually ignores is their pelvic floor. These muscles lining the lower part of the pelvis, around the anus, and extending towards the urinary tract play a major role in our health, but are most commonly overlooked until we have major health issues. Pelvic floor exercises can be a healthy part of anyone’s life, and is especially critical to people with urinary issues, pregnant women, and men recovering from prostate surgery.
The pelvic floor exercises are most commonly called Kegel Exercises, named after the Doctor who first began recommending them. The most common exercise taught to women in pregnancy classes, or by Doctor’s to their patients is the standard Kegel Exercise. In this exercise you simply tightly contract and hold the pelvic wall muscles, the same muscles you would use to restrict urine flow. Hold the contraction for about 5 seconds then release. Repeat this exercise approximately 20 times, and do them a least three times daily. As your pelvic floor muscles become stronger you can maintain the contraction longer, and do more repetitions.
The standard Kegel exercise primarily works on slow twitch muscles. They help to develop the lower pelvic area, and will aid in controlling urine flow and giving you more bladder control. There is a second set of Kegel exercises you may wish to employ, also. This comes into play because you have two types of muscle fibers, fast twitch and slow twitch. The traditional exercise only focuses on the slow twitch muscles.
To target your fast twitch muscles is going to require changing your tempo dramatically. Instead of tensing the pelvic floor exercises and holding them, this exercise requires fast tensing and releasing. Using exactly the same muscle feeling tense the pelvic floor muscles quickly and release just as fast, keep repeating rapidly for a count of 20 to 30. Then rest a moment and repeat. You can do these exercises a couple times per day, too.
Other exercises can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, too. Put a pillow between your knees and squeeze in tightly. You will feel this in both your inner thighs and in your pelvic floor. It is almost impossible to pressure your knees together without also engaging the pelvic floor muscles. This is a great exercise to add to your Kegel exercise routines.
Even if you are not currently suffering from a medical condition requiring Kegel exercises, it makes great sense to keep the muscles in great shape. When you do have any health issues your body will be prepared, and you will not be trying to improve muscle condition at the same time as trying to recover. Pelvic floor exercises can be performed in the office, in your car, watching TV, or almost anywhere. There is no reason you should ignore these important muscles which play a critical role in our health. Stop wasting time at those red lights, and start improving your physical condition. Someday you will be happy you did.