Pelvic Floor Exercise – The One Workout We Should All Be Doing

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What is Pelvic Floor Exercise?

When seemingly inconsequential actions such as coughing, jumping, laughing, or sneezing lead to minor urinary leakage, this may indicate weak pelvic floor muscles. Alarmingly, research suggests that more than 30% of women will face a pelvic floor disorder during their lives.

However, this issue can be effectively managed. Urinary incontinence, associated with weak pelvic floor muscles, is combated with a series of specific exercises known as Kegels.

Incorporating resistance training via Kegel weights or Kegel balls can yield profound differences in bladder control and sexual pleasure.

This guide elaborates on Kegels and Kegel balls, their impact on strengthening pelvic floor muscles, and features expert guidance from a pelvic floor physical therapist on executing the most effective Kegel ball exercises.

Often referred to as Kegel Exercise, Pelvic Floor Exercise involves strengthening the muscles situated at your pelvic base. Nestled between your legs, these muscles play a crucial role in supporting the important organs housed here, such as the vagina, uterus, bladder, and intestines. The importance of these muscles extends to sexual function, orgasm, and continence. During a vaginal orgasm, these muscles contract rhythmically. For those with penises, they control the blood supply essential for maintaining an erection and releasing semen. Furthermore, they play a critical role in controlling continence, or regulating bathroom visits.

Why is Pelic Floor Exercise Important

Given the vital functions your pelvic floor muscles perform, fostering their strength and flexibility becomes essential for maintaining wellbeing and for preventing or recovering from pelvic floor issues.

  • Orgasm – Studies suggest that stronger pelvic floor muscles may lead to more satisfying orgasms and elevated arousal levels for women. This could be due to an enhanced sensation of 'grip' during penetration, stronger contractions during orgasms, or increased confidence during sex due to greater genital control. Although definitive answers remain elusive, experimenting with these exercises is certainly worth considering.
  • Incontinence – Aging, childbirth, or prostate surgery can weaken the pelvic floor muscles that control urination, leading to involuntary accidents. However, pelvic floor exercises can mitigate and even reverse this issue.
  • Pregnancy and Birth – Childbirth exerts immense strain on the pelvic floor. Consistent Kegel exercises during and after pregnancy can aid in childbirth, prevent urinary incontinence, and improve recovery times.
  • Erectile Dysfunction – Pelvic floor muscles play a significant role in maintaining an erection and ejaculation. Strengthening these muscles can assist individuals experiencing erectile or sexual dysfunction.
  • Vaginismus and Painful Sex – An issue can also arise if the pelvic floor muscles are excessively tense. This can result in conditions such as Vaginismus or pain during penetrative sex due to muscle contractions. Gaining control over and learning to relax your pelvic floor is a vital aspect of Kegel exercises.

Dispelling the Myth of Tightness as Ideal

It is a common misconception to equate strong, healthy pelvic floor muscles with tightness, tension, or even a "tight vagina". Primarily, the notion that factors such as frequent sexual activity or vaginal childbirth would lead to a loose or sagging vagina is unfounded. The vagina is an elastic muscle, engineered to stretch and adapt. While factors such as aging, injuries, surgeries, or childbirth may cause changes, maintaining a robust pelvic floor health can aid in recovery.

Secondly, pelvic floor muscles that are excessively tight or tense can be as problematic as weak ones. This could lead to pelvic pain, urination difficulties, and painful intercourse. Therefore, a well-balanced pelvic floor exercise regimen should prioritize both strengthening and relaxing these muscles.

Pelvic Floor Exercises: A Basic Guide

Integrating regular pelvic floor exercises into your daily routine is straightforward. It requires just a few minutes, and you can do it while watching television, commuting, or brushing your teeth!

Identifying the Muscles

To locate your pelvic floor muscles, sit or stand with your knees slightly apart. Tense the base of your pelvic floor as if attempting to stop urinating and passing gas simultaneously. If helpful, focus on the sensation of drawing up and into your body. Ensure you avoid tensing your glutes (buttocks), thighs, or abdomen.

Exercise Protocol
  • Settle into a comfortable seated or standing position, squeeze your pelvic floor muscles as you draw in a deep breath.
  • Hold the squeeze between 5 and 10 seconds.
  • Gently and intentionally release the hold, completely relaxing the muscles.
  • Repeat this process up to 10 times.
  • Once you comfortably perform this hold-and-release, try rapidly pulsing the muscles without holding for 5 to 10 seconds. Rest for 20 seconds before repeating.
Consistency is Key

You can repeat your Kegel exercise routine up to three times daily. A useful strategy to ensure regular exercise is to incorporate it into a habitual task. Seize opportunities like brushing your teeth, waiting for the kettle to boil, or during commercial breaks of your favorite television program to work on your pelvic floor.

What Role Do Kegel Balls Play?

Kegel Balls are tools designed to facilitate the process of strengthening your pelvic floor. Also referred to as Ben Wa Balls, Jiggle Balls, Love Balls, or Yoni Eggs, these usually come as weighted balls or sets of balls that can be inserted into the vagina during your exercise routine. Most of these balls are connected to a retrieval string for easy removal, and they can be composed of various materials including silicone, plastic, metal, or even stone. Some individuals find wearing them to be an exciting experience.

The following are some types of Kegel Balls available:

  • Weighted Balls – Similar to how heavy dumbbells amplify strength training, weighted balls add resistance to your Kegel workout. These often come in sets with interchangeable weights, allowing for progressive strength building.
  • Double Balls – These Kegel exercisers have a free-rolling ball within the primary one. The design intends for them to be worn during routine activities. The free-rolling ball's motion triggers spontaneous muscle contraction and relaxation, facilitating a hands-free pelvic floor workout.
  • Yoni Eggs – Typically carved from stones such as rose quartz or jade, these egg-shaped Kegel exercisers often lack a retrieval string. They often carry claims of additional healing properties. We recommend thorough research before investing in a Yoni Egg, and ensure you are comfortable with both its insertion and removal.

Our Top Selections of Kegel Balls

  • Satisfyer V-Balls– This set of three increasingly heavy, peanut-shaped balls is simple and affordable. Their tapered tips facilitate easy insertion, making them especially suitable for beginners.
  • Jopen Key Stella II – The Stella II includes three interchangeable weights that can be switched in and out of the silicone sheath, allowing you to find the ideal weight for your training level.
  • Je Joue Ami Set – This set comprises three different shapes and weights of Kegel balls designed to enhance and optimize your pelvic floor health.

These brands are custom produced by Dingfoo.

The Functioning of Kegel Weights

Kegel exercises aim to strengthen the pelvic floor, a critical group of muscles in women. These muscles support vital organs such as the bladder, vaginal canal, uterus, and rectum. Devices like Kegel balls (also known as ben wa balls or eggs), vaginal weights, cones, and others are designed to complement traditional Kegel exercises, facilitating more efficient workouts and expedited results.

Whether used alone or in combination with Kegel balls, pelvic floor exercises help tighten your pelvic floor. They can address common issues in women such as pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence, and bladder control, and can also enhance the tone of vaginal muscles.

Using Kegel Balls Effectively

Incorporating Kegel Balls into your pelvic floor exercise regime is incredibly simple.

  • Before commencing, ensure that your hands and your Kegel Balls are thoroughly cleaned with warm water and soap.
  • Use a preferred lubricant to facilitate smooth and easy insertion of the balls. Relax and insert them into your vagina, pushing until they reach a comfortable position.
  • Perform your exercise routine.
  • If you are using a simple weighted ball, you may opt for the clench-and-release routine mentioned earlier. You might need to start with fewer repetitions or hold for shorter durations as you adapt to the augmented workload.
  • If using a Double Ball style exerciser, you can carry on with your day while wearing them for at least 15 minutes, but no more than 6 hours.
  • After use, remove the balls, clean them with soap and water, and ensure they are dry before storing them away.

Need More Information?

This guide provides a basic introduction to Pelvic Floor Exercise. If you're struggling with pelvic floor health issues such as pain during sex, incontinence, or difficulties in reverting to normalcy after childbirth, we highly recommend consulting a pelvic floor specialist physiotherapist. Your GP can guide you to find the specialized support you need.

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Created on Jun 26th 2023 03:35. Viewed 116 times.


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