We’re gonna get personal here. REALLY personal. Do you ever pee a little with running, jumping, or squatting? How about when you do those Double Under’s or box jumps or sneeze? It’s called stress incontinence and it’s why you should do Kegel exercises!
No doubt you’ve heard of Kegel exercises and all the reasons you should do them. But my guess is that you don’t really do them. Raise your hand if you do.
Don’t feel bad, I didn’t either until last week. I was getting a deep tissue massage and the girl says, “Show me how you do your Kegel exercises”. Huh? What Kegel exercises? And how do I show you even if I did them? She goes on to tell me all the reasons every woman should do them and all the things they fix and right then and there, we had a Kegel lesson.
First, us CaveMamas are over 40 and have had some babies. Both those things combined, age and pregnancy, cause our pelvic floor to drop lower than it was before if our pelvic muscles aren’t tight. This causes the bladder to sag and the bladder sphincter to get floppy and stress incontinence happens. There are a lots of medical articles on this, but I’m not going to get that technical.
What’s important for you and I to know is WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT! Stress incontinence is caused by a weak or shifted pelvic floor and did you know high heels can cause the pelvic floor to tilt back leading to a little leaking. I’m so sad about this because I LOVE heels.
Most professionals will tell you that to get your pelvic floor “healthy” you should see your doctor first (and I totally recommend you see your GYN once a year!) and perhaps even see a physical therapist to work on this. That’s a great idea, especially is you have lower back, hip, or knee pain because these can all be caused from a weak pelvic floor (WHO KNEW?).
But the simplest of solutions is the famous Kegel exercise, named after Dr. Kegel. Learn how to do these, do them everyday, and see how your little leak problem starts to improve!
1. Locate your pelvic floor muscles by making yourself stop peeing midstream. Go sit on the toilet and start peeing. Now make yourself stop peeing. The muscles you used to to do this are your pelvic floor muscles.
2. Once you’ve finished peeing, go lay on the floor (You can actually do Kegel exercises standing up, sitting, laying and during sex). Bend you knees and squeeze those same muscles. Some say imagine squeezing a pebble in your vagina.
3. Just like training other muscles, do these in sets of 3, working up to holding each one 10 seconds. You might start with only 2 seconds, but slowly work up to 10 seconds.
These are internal muscles and so you shouldn’t be able see anyone doing them. However, the massage therapist suggested that until I knew that I knew that I was doing them right, I should take a deep breath and hold it, squeeze my muscles, and then while squeezing let me abdominal muscles collapse into my back as I exhaled. Try it. It feels weird, but you can definitely tell that you are holding your pelvic floor muscles.
Be warned: if you start trolling around on the internet you’re going to find all kinds of websites advertising their devices to help with your Kegel’s. You don’t need them! These can and should be done everyday, anytime of day, without any devices! However, I did find an awesome website from an Australian physical therapist that goes into very in depth education about pelvic floor help. She even has videos to show you.
That’s the nitty gritty on doing Kegel exercises and why you should them every day! Just for the record, many experts say that Kegel exercises are only really effective if you have strong glutes. I don’t know the truth about that, but it’s all the more reason to keep doing CrossFit and lifting heavy weights!
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