Kegels: 5 Things You Didn’t Know
Kegel exercises which are also known as pelvic floor exercises, involves the repetitive contraction and relaxation of the muscles located at the bottom, or the floor, of the pelvis. Kegel exercises can help both men and women manage and prevent problems related to bladder control in addition to improving sexual health and pleasure.
This form of exercise was popularized by Arnold Kegel, a gynecologist who taught at the University of Southern California School of Medicine. It is becoming increasingly adopted in various routines of Pilates and Yoga. This article will go through some interesting facts related to Kegel exercises and how they can benefit your health.
1. Kegel exercises go way back!
Even though Arnold Kegel was the one to popularize this exercise, he was not the one to invent it. Pelvic floor exercises have been known for thousands of years. These exercises were performed in baths and gymnasiums in ancient Greece and Rome, as described by Hippocrates and Galen.
2. Location of Kegel muscles and function
The pelvic floor muscles or Kegel muscles are situated in-between the anus and the vagina in women, and between the scrotum and the anus in men. When these muscles do not contract properly and are weak, sexual dysfunction and incontinence can occur. If these muscles are contracting more than normal and are tense, a condition known as “tension myalgia” can occur which can also negatively affect the functioning of the bowel and sexual organs. The Kegel muscles are identified as muscles that provide a 3 “S” function; sphincter control, sexual and support of the pelvic organs.
3. Kegel exercises for men
Although these exercises were first focused on women, they have benefits for men as well. There exists only very minor differences between the Kegel muscles of men and women. The pelvic floor muscle is a single muscle in men, whereas in women, the muscle has a left and right sections since it splits around the vagina. Despite the minor difference, men can also obtain the same benefits of urinary and sexual health from Kegel exercises.
4. Kegel exercise and sexual function
Pelvic floor muscles are important when it comes to erections and maintaining rigidity of the penis. These muscles help increase the blood pressure inside the penis which provides the rigidity and stiffness during an erection. During climax, Kegel muscles contract at a rhythm and helps in the ejaculation. Engaging in Kegel exercise can improve the ejaculatory volume and intensity during climax and help with better sexual function. When it comes to the sexual function of women, well developed pelvic muscles are also associated with lesser sexual complaints.
5. The theory of use and disuse
All muscles in the body are subjected to the theory of use and disuse, which states that those muscles which are not used as intended will eventually become depreciated. However, when used as naturally intended, they will remain healthy and functional. The pelvic muscles are also subjected to this mechanism and when target exercises are applied, the structure and function of these muscles can be improved. Therefore engaging in Kegel exercises can provide significant benefits in urinary control as well as sexual function in an individual. Learn more about how to do kegels here.