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Exercises for the pelvic floor

Published:Wednesday | February 10, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Kenneth Gardner, Fitness Club

For those who associate love with sex, one of the major challenges that gets in the way of expressing love is the status of the pubococcygeus muscles of the pelvic floor (more popularly known as the PC muscles). These muscles support the organs in the pelvic area, control urination, contract during orgasm and aid in childbirth. If you want to locate the PC muscle, try to stop your urine flow then release. That function is performed by your PC muscles.

The PC muscles are similar in men and women. This group of muscles is connected to the long muscle band that runs from the pubic bone in front to the tail bone in the rear. The PC muscles can weaken or sag as a result of ageing, being overweight, having a chronic cough, a genetic predisposition of weak connective tissue, a sedentary lifestyle or having weak core strength. Weakening of these muscles can result in premature ejaculation in men and decreased sexual gratification in men and women.

Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises correct problems of the PC muscles. These exercise help to increase bladder control, improve sexual function and reduce pain in the prostate gland. Even if there are no serious problems, Kegel exercises can be done to keep the pelvic floor toned and strong. Women will find that a healthy pelvic floor is helpful in pregnancy and child birth.

Perform the exercise by using the squeeze or contract- then -hold-and-release technique. Contract the muscles and hold them for a few seconds then release. As you practise the routine you will be able to hold the muscles for longer periods. Gain control of the PC muscles by rapidly contracting and relaxing the muscles. This can be practised in the first week for one-minute routines, three to four times each day.

Contract and release

The squeeze or contract, hold, release and repeat technique will help to improve the power of these contractions. By flexing and holding your PC muscles for longer periods you will eventually make them stronger. Practise contracting the muscles for as long as you can. Once you have lost control, wait for a minute or two then try again.

Try to keep the contractions longer each time and ensure they are at their strongest. The exercise can be practised at any time or place at your convenience. If you are able to perform the exercise for more than 20 minutes non-stop, there will be no need to practise more than once each day.

Dr Kenneth Gardner is an exercise physiologist at Holiday Hills Research Center; email: