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5 Excuses Women Use For Not Exercising Their Pelvic Floor Muscles

Aug 17, 2007
Many women know that strong pelvic muscles are vital for long-term physical, sexual and emotional health, yet they still don't exercise them. There are five common excuses women use for not doing their pelvic floor (kegel) exercises, and five solutions!

1. "I don't know how to exercise my pelvic muscles."
Read one of the excellent online leaflets or buy a book. Talk to a health practitioner, a continence nurse, a physical therapist, or a women's health centre. All of these services are there to help, but ultimately you need to take the first step for yourself.

2. "I tried but I can't do pelvic muscle exercises."
The "squeeze and lift" technique involved in strengthening the pelvic floor is a tricky one to master. Even a visit to a doctor or other health practitioner may not be the answer for many women. In fact research shows that over 50% of women can't produce an effective squeeze of the pelvic floor muscles based on verbal instructions alone.

So consider one of the many excellent guides to pelvic floor exercising, avaiable both online and in printed leaflets and books. A number of well-designed products are also available that provide feedback and reassurance that the correct squeezing technique is being used. Remember that successful exercising takes practice and persistence, and be kind to yourself while you learn.

3. "I've done pelvic muscle exercises in the past but they didn't make any difference."
Done properly, pelvic floor exercises will always improve the strength of even the most untoned pelvic muscles. But many women find it hard to do them frequently enough and for long enough, and then become discouraged when they don't seem to see a result.

Experts agree that regular exercising for at least six weeks will be required before any difference becomes noticeable. Twelve weeks is the usual minimum for an effective result for most women.

But the exercises also need to be done properly. Dr Arnold Kegel, who developed the concept of the pelvic floor "lift and squeeze" exercise technique in the 1950s, never intended the exercises to be done on an empty vagina. Somewhere along the way, his message has become distorted and many women are told to do just that, causing them to feel they have failed when their exercise program doesn't seem to improve muscle strength.

Research has clearly demonstrated that most women benefit from using exercise devices, such as perineometers, vaginal balls, and weights.

So the solution is simple: choose the best device, commit to giving your pelvic muscle exercise program the time it deserves, and there definitely will be a difference!

4. "I don't have the time."
It is true that women find it hard to fit in time for themselves in their busy lives, but it is possible to make it easier. Simple tricks such as setting an alarm clock to signal daily exercise time will help to you stick to your program.

The amount of time that's needed will vary according to your existing pelvic floor fitness. If you are time-poor but have a low level of pelvic fitness, vaginal weights may be helpful. These can be worn for 20 minutes a day whilst you are doing your regular chores.

If you can already successfully contract your pelvic floor muscles but are seeking to build higher levels of fitness, a perineometer, or feedback device, might be helpful. Fiften minutes each day with a perineomter can be supplemented by doing squeeze and lift contractions throughout the day. Pelvic exercise can become part of your daily routine, so that you squeeze and lift whilst waiting at traffic lights, whilst talking on the phone or standing at the kitchen sink.

5. "I've never heard of pelvic floor muscle exercises."
Some women, especially those who are older, still say that they've never heard of pelvic floor exercises. It's true that humans are not born knowing how to exercise the pelvic muscles, and it is not a part of the body that is challenged during day-to-day activities. So women have relied on finding out at appropriate stages during their lives, often from those who care for them during pregnancy and childbirth, and during their menopausal years.

But nowadays, we are less shy about discussing pelvic health and we have more understanding of its important. We all share the responsibility of passing information onto our daughters and granddaughters.

Increasing awareness of the vital role played by a strong pelvic floor muscles will hopefully ensure that the message reaches future generations of women while they are still young.
About the Author
Linda McClelland is the founder of Pelvic Floor Exercise, providing information, links and products to help women and men worldwide improve their pelvic floor fitness. Visit her at www.pelvicfloorexercise.com for more information.
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