There are several things expecting moms can do to prepare down there for baby. While most are exciting, there is one exercise that’s boring yet crucial. Kegel exercises.
But Kegels don’t have to be a bore.
Minna Life, makers of kGoal, a smart Kegel exerciser + app just released a new game on the app. Shape Shift will challenge women to trace shapes as they move across the screen so that they stay engaged while practicing Kegel exercises. While the app helps women keep track of their progress and endurance, the insertable device provides valuable bio feedback so mom knows if and when she is fully contracting and releasing her pelvic floor muscles.
According to Minna Life’s pelvic floor specialist Liz Miracle, MSPT, WCS, most women can contract their muscles, but they don’t release them all the way. Just like doing bicep curls you want to fully contract and extend your forearm so you get the most of the exercise.
Mommynoire: First, what are Kegels?
Liz Miravle: Kegel exercises are the lifting and releasing of the pelvic floor muscles, encouraging proper function of the pelvic floor. Proper function of these muscles is not only related to sexual health and satisfaction, but they assist in childbirth, contribute to stability of the pelvis and help keep women from leaking urine or stool.
Why are Kegel exercises so important?
Kegel exercises are a big deal is because pelvic floor muscles are a vital part of the body’s core. Our core is literally the center of our body providing support and stability for all motion. Ignoring the pelvic floor can result in poor bladder control, abdominal or back weakness, or even decreased sexual function. In addition, what many people don’t consider is that they play a role in stability. Without good stability our balance becomes impaired and could lead to injury.
Should we be doing Kegel exercises from the time we’re 21? When’s the right time to start?
Women should start thinking about their pelvic floor after their first visit to the gynecologist. This is when many women begin to learn about their bodies. Unfortunately, since the perception is that young women have strong pelvic floors this is ignored, when in truth many young female athletes suffer from urinary incontinence due to sports activities like running on hard pavement and jumping, or tumbling. Strong pelvic floor muscles are an important part of good health through all stages of adulthood.
Some women worry that by performing Kegels, other things (like orgasms) will happen. Is that true?
Squeezing your pelvic floor muscles alone will not cause an orgasm. While strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles may improve the quality of an orgasm, you should not be worried that exercising them will have unwanted “side effects.” Many women exercise their pelvic floors throughout the day, in the car, sitting at work, even while breastfeeding their baby.
What was the motivation or inspiration for Minna Life to create the KGoal?
Despite the fact that the pelvic floor muscles are a critical part of a healthy, fit body, the level of education as to why they matter is sorely lacking, as are tools to help women manage and improve their pelvic floor fitness. We wanted to change that.
How exactly does the exerciser and app work?
The kGoal device provides tactile biofeedback so you know if you’re contracting and fully releasing the right muscles. The device connects to the app via Bluetooth and provides guided 5-minute workouts and games as well as the ability to track your exercise progress and history. The newest game is called Shape Shift and challenges users to open and close a set of gates to allow different shapes through.
Any other tips?
Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles doesn’t have to be hard. As few as three five-minute workouts per week can make a big difference. And for those experiencing significant weakness, they should considering practicing their Kegels up to three times a day.
In addition to practicing Kegel exercises, women should choose good posture when sitting – don’t sit with your tailbone tucked. Remember, the pelvic floor muscles work best when the pelvis is in balanced, or neutral, similar to in Pilates. When exercising your pelvic floor muscles, be sure that you are not only lifting, but also fully releasing. Muscles function best within their full range of motion.