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Just as it's important to strengthen your muscles with resistance training at the gym, there's another group of muscles that need exercise to stay strong - the muscles that hold your pelvic organs in place. These muscles weaken with age and with childbirth. Over time, this can lead to bladder control problems. One way to reduce your risk is to exercise these muscles in order to make them stronger. Kegel exercises are a specific type of exercise designed to strengthen these muscles.
Movements that specifically work your pelvic muscles to make them stronger are referred to as Kegel exercises. Pelvic muscles are the muscles that support your bladder. When these muscles are weak, you're at greater risk for bladder control problems and urinary incontinence. Kegel exercises have another benefit as well. By giving you greater control over your pelvic muscles and vagina, regular exercises may help to increase sexual pleasure.
The way to strengthen these muscles is to actively contract them and hold the contractions for a few seconds before relaxing. Just as hand weights and dumbbells make strengthening the rest of your body more effective, Kegel trainer kits may increase the effectiveness of Kegel exercises. One type of kit consists of a series of balls of increasing weight you push against during pelvic contractions. In order to use these exercise balls, you will need to insert them into your vagina. These weights provide added resistance to maximize strength. Start with the ball of lightest weight and gradually move up to heavier balls as your pelvic muscles become stronger.
When you need a little more challenge, Kegel trainers made of double balls are available. Once you've inserted the double balls, work on contracting your muscles or leave the balls in place while you walk around so your pelvic muscles get a workout. Also available is a single ball trainer for beginners. The balls are made of safe materials like silicone or BPA and phthalate-free plastic. This makes them durable and long-lasting.
Also available are extra-large Kegel balls. Their heavier size and weight provide greater vaginal stimulation. Plus, your pelvic muscles have to work harder to hold a larger, heavy ball in place. This may promote even better strength. Once you're comfortable with one ball, you may choose to challenge your pelvic muscles more by inserting two balls.
Another way to make Kegel exercises more pleasurable and effective is with special beads you insert into your vagina. Once inserted, the beads move and subtly vibrate when you walk. This stimulates your vaginal muscles while helping to strengthen them. Always follow the directions when inserting them and only use beads that are specially designed for this purpose. It's also important not to use them when you're pregnant.
Pelvic floor exercises are available in other shapes as well. One type, specially designed for beginners, is made of Lucite and shaped like a dumbbell. This type of Kegel exerciser is one of the simplest to use. It's perfect for beginners!
Be sure to see your doctor or health care provider regularly to discuss any concerns you have.