Speaking of preconception fitness, it’s time to start getting serious about kegels–those teeny tiny exercises performed with the itsy bitsy muscles that you can use to stop the flow of urine. Up until now, I’ve flirted with the idea of doing kegels regularly. I mean, why bother with yet another “should” in life?
The Benefits of Kegels
The potential pay-offs of kegels are looking more and more enticing the closer I get to trying to conceive. You might want to do kegels, too, if…
- You want to improve your sex life (obviously a fabulous pay-off, especially if you’re trying to make a baby)
- You want to minimize the risk of urinary and fecal incontinence during and after pregnancy
- You want to minimize tearing (as in tissue ripping, not crying) during vaginal birth
I’m convinced. When do we start?
If you must know, I started yesterday while lounging by the pool. Since only your pelvic floor muscles should be involved in this kegel adventure, rest assured that no one can tell what you’re doing. Your abs, thighs, and glutes have nothing to do with the exercise, and you should be breathing normally–don’t hold your breath.
I started with this basic routine:
Contract 3 seconds –> relax 3 seconds –> repeat until you’ve done 10 repetitions
Start with 3 sets per day of this routine. Over time, work up to 10 second hold, 10 second rest cycles. Make sense?
Spice it Up with Variations
I’m not a basic kinda girl, so I also threw in these variations to the first day of my kegel routine:
- Mini Kegels: perform quick contractions in 10 – 20 rep increments. Rest 30 seconds, repeat.
- Elevator Kegels: contract just a little, hold for 2 seconds –> contract a little more, hold for 2 seconds –> contract as high as you can, hold for up to 30 seconds –>relax a little, hold for 2 seconds –> relax a little more, hold for 2 seconds –> relax completely
I’m still trying to figure out which daily routine task to attach to my kegels. Should I do it on the train on the way to work, while watching an evening television show? Where do you kegel and what’s your favorite variation?