Listen up, guys, and all the women who care about you. Kegel exercises are not just for females. In fact, men can enjoy some important benefits from learning and routinely practicing this simple routine. For all of you who may feel self-conscious about doing so-called “girl” exercises, the beauty of Kegels is that no one will even know you are working those hidden muscles.
Why Kegel Exercises for Men?
Men can benefit from practicing Kegel exercises for the same basic reasons women do: better urinary control and better sex. The differences are in the “why” and “how.” Here’s what I mean.
Urinary incontinence affects about 25 million adults in America, according to the National Association for Continence. About 15 percent of adults affected are men. Among women, the main reasons for urine leakage and the weakened pelvic muscles (also known as the pubococcygeus [PC] muscles) that cause it include pregnancy, stress, and weight gain.
Men also have PC muscles, but male urinary problems often are related to the prostate and three conditions: benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis, and prostate cancer. In addition to urine leakage (dribbling), men can experience urinary urgency (the “I gotta go NOW” syndrome), urinary frequency (needing to urinate often), nighttime urinary frequency, and weak stream.
Read more about kegel exercises and mild urinary incontinence
These urinary challenges can occur as symptoms of the previously mentioned prostate conditions and/or as a result of various approaches to treat them, including medications, radiation, and surgery. PC muscles also weaken with age. Men who practice Kegels can reduce or even eliminate urinary incontinence associated with any of these reasons, including prostatectomy, because these exercises target the muscles (pelvic floor muscles) located just below the bladder that control urination. But you have to practice!
The next time you urinate, try to slow or stop the stream of urine. Pretend you are trying to not pass gas.
Do not squeeze the muscles in your abdomen, legs, or buttocks.
Breathe-do not hold your breath
If the urine flow has slowed or stopped, you have squeezed the correct muscles.
Now imagine doing this exercise throughout the day. You can do Kegels just about anywhere: sitting in your chair at the office, standing in line at the bank, driving to work, or while watching a movie. Practice contracting the targeted muscles and holding the squeeze for about 2 to 3 seconds (eventually build up to 5 seconds), then release. Repeat about 10 times and do these mini sessions several times a day. An easy way to remember to do Kegels is in bed before you get up, after lunch, and at bedtime.
One word of caution: you need to be patient when doing Kegel exercises because you won’t see any significant results for about 3 to 6 weeks if you practice every day. But the benefits are well worth this minimal effort!
Kegels For the Bedroom
In addition to helping control incontinence, Kegel exercises also may help improve your sex life. Strengthening the PC muscles in women has been shown to improve sexual satisfaction, but the evidence for men is less clear. However, Kegel exercises can help men who suffer with erectile dysfunction restore their ability to get an erection. Again, it takes some patience.
For example, a study of 55 men who had experienced erectile dysfunction for at least six months were randomly assigned to a group that did pelvic floor muscle exercises with biofeedback or to a control group (no intervention). After three months, erectile function was significantly better among men in the exercise group than in the control group.
After an additional three months of practice, 40 percent of the men regained normal erectile function, 35.5 percent improved, and 24.5 percent did not get better. The authors concluded that Kegel exercises “should be considered as a first-line approach for men seeking long-term resolution of their erectile dysfunction.”
You could be doing your Kegel exercises right now without getting out of your chair or putting down your cup of coffee. What are you waiting for?
Photo Credit: victor1558