Master the move: Kegels
Pelvic floor exercises, or Kegels (named after the American gynaecologist Arnold Kegel, who designed them), are the contraction and release of muscles that surround your vagina and urethra and support the bladder, uterus, and to some extent, rectum.
‘Done correctly – and regularly – they keep your pelvic floor fit, which helps avoid bladder leakage and pelvic organ prolapse,’ says Dr Karen Morton, gynaecologist and founder of Dr Morton’s medical helpline. ‘Pregnancy, birth and age all weaken these muscles.’
As an added incentive, working the pubococcygeus muscle (a hammock-like muscle that connects the pubic bone to the bottom of the spine) can give you more intense orgasms.
Find the right bits
A third of women and men who do Kegel exercises are mistakenly working their abdominals, buttocks or inner thighs. ‘Isolate your pelvic floor by stopping peeing midstream, or, alternatively, imagine you’re sitting on a marble and trying to hoover it up into your vagina,’ says
‘It’s a combination of squeezing and lifting and you should feel the contraction more in the back of the pelvic area than the front.’ Now you’ve found it, don’t practise by stopping peeing – it’s just to help you identify the sensation.
‘Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles for five seconds, keep lifting up through your pelvis into your tummy, then release for five seconds. Repeat 10 times in a row – that’s one set. Aim to do three sets,’ says Dr Morton. If you find it hard work, squeeze for three, release for three and work up to five. Similarly, if you can’t do 10, do as many as you can and build up. Try to do them two or three times a day.
‘Also practise short, two-second contractions and releases, and make a habit of doing a speedy two-second clench at critical times – just before you sneeze, for example.’
Technique is key
‘Make sure that when you’re squeezing and lifting you’re not pulling in your tummy, lifting your pelvis, squeezing your legs together, tightening your buttocks, or holding your breath,’ says Dr Morton. ‘Lay on your back while doing them at first to practise.’
Do them daily
Once you’ve sussed the technique, make Kegel exercises part of your daily routine – and have a mental prompt for it. Perhaps every time you make a cuppa, do a set. Do them while you’re brushing your teeth or watching telly. ‘I do mine every time I’m standing at a sink,’ says
Your kegel fit kit
ELVIE Place the egg-like device in your vagina, connect to the app and try the games to help you perfect the technique. £169, elvie.com
INNOVO A two-part garment sends targeted impulses via conductive pads placed on your thighs to strengthen your pelvic floor. £249, restorethefloor.com
LASELLE EXERCISER This weighted ball provides you with a firm object to flex your muscles around to strengthen your pelvic floor. £7.42, intimina.com
VSCULPT Combines gentle heat, LED light and vibration to strengthen and tone. Use 10 minutes a day. £375, vsculpt.com
NEEN EDUCATOR Insert into your vagina (like a tampon). If you’re doing it right, the indicator wand will move downwards. £13.99, stressnomore.co.uk
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