Someone who I have utmost respect for, wrote to me recently asking me to cover the issue of stress incontinence on my blog. Stress incontinence (it effects men too but I will stick with women in this article) is something most women are shy of discussing and a lot of times it also prevents women from pursuing an active lifestyle in fear that they might embarrass themselves. It’s basically when you leak a little during physical exertion, running, coughing, jumping or even while laughing out loud.
It’s fairly common if you have given birth naturally or have been sedentary or overweight for most part of your life, as the pelvic floor muscles and the muscles around it become weak. During my pregnancy I had read about it as I was mentally prepared to give natural birth and started doing Kegels immediately post delivery and I continue to do them religiously.
I spoke to a few women who are suffering because of it and been reading a lot and watching a lot of videos as well. Of course seeing your doctor is most important and so is investing time in strengthening your pelvic floor via kegels.
What is pelvic floor muscle?
It’s the same muscle which we use to control and release the flow of urine.
How to do a Kegel?
1) Imagine squeezing a pebble with your vagina.
2) Each rep (or squeeze) needs to last 2-3 seconds to begin with. Do 10 reps 2-3 times a day which can be spread out. Increase your hold time week on week going up to 10 seconds
3) You will know you are doing it right if it’s only your pelvic floor is moving in isolation. You should not engage your glutes or abdomen.
4) Never practise kegels while urinating.
5) Breathe normally while practising it.
6) Be consistent, may be set a reminder 3 times a day as you can do them anywhere anytime.
7) Don’t overdo them. Overdoing any exercise is not good for you.
I have attached a very good video I saw where a physical therapist explains how to do the kegels right.
The idea of this article is to encourage women to come out and start talking about the real problems we face and not let anything stop us from leading healthy lives.
Apparently, one can combine kegel with some yoga poses like the bridge pose but I will read more about it, practise it myself and share it with you all soon.
Happy kegels and happy running.