Pelvic muscle exercises (also known as Kegel exercises), are a type of exercise designed to strengthen the pelvic muscles around your bladder and penis. They have been shown to be of great benefit for men suffering from prostate problems, especially for those recovering after prostate surgery. While commonly considered beneficial for women during childbirth, according to several studies, there are plenty of known benefits that these special exercises can provide, especially to men suffering prostate problems.
Why Do Pelvic Muscles Become Weak?
The pelvic floor muscles can be weakened by:
- surgery for an enlarged prostate gland.
- damage to the nerves of your pelvic floor muscles (by disease, injury, surgery or radiotherapy).
- continual straining to empty the bowels, usually due to constipation.
- persistent heavy lifting.
- a chronic cough, such as smoker’s cough or chronic bronchitis and asthma.
- being overweight.
- lack of general fitness.
What Are the Benefits of Pelvic Exercises?
Pelvic exercises host a range of health benefits for men, especially when it comes to prostate health. The prostate gland can be found under the bladder, surrounding the urethra. The urethra is a tube that carries urine through the penis out of the body. However, during prostate treatment the muscles surrounding the prostate can become gradually weakened, resulting in urine leakage and even incontinence. By building up you’re the strength of your prostate and pelvic muscles, you enjoy a number of benefits including:
- Improved Prostate Health. During a Kegel exercise, there will be an increase in blood flow to the male sex organ. With these exercises, it can help to build up a healthy prostate while keeping all of the sexual organs functioning properly.
- Prevents Urinary and Faecal Incontinence. This is one of the most important benefits of Kegel exercises for men. Aside from preventing urine leakage, it also decreases the urge to urinate. Faecal incontinence will also be minimized. This is commonly recommended for men who had just undergone a prostate surgery.
- Improved Sexual Function. With Kegel exercises, it can make men’s erections last longer. This is beneficial to those who have sexual dysfunction. Kegel exercises can improve erectile function, control premature ejaculation, and also intensify orgasm in men.
How Do I Find My Pelvic Muscles?
For many men locating the pelvic muscles can be a struggle. To find your pelvic muscles try to stop and start your urine stream when urinating. Remember not to tense your buttocks or your legs and abdomen. Also, take note to keep breathing calmly. When you have successfully slowed down or stopped your urine, you will be able to hit the target muscle. The muscles you use to stop your urine flow are your pelvic muscles and these are the ones you want to strengthen.
5 Pelvic Exercises
To complete this pelvic muscle exercise, you need to lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Inhale engage your pelvic floor and lift your hips. Hold for up to 10 seconds (keep breathing!). Lower your hips back down and release your pelvic floor. Do 10 reps of this.
2) Wall Squat
Some people might struggle with squats, especially if they are older so another alternative is wall squats. To do this exercise, simply stand against a wall, feet hip-width apart. Inhale engage your pelvic floor and lower yourself into a squat as though sitting in a chair. Hold for 10 seconds. Rise back up to standing and release your pelvic floor. Rest for 10 seconds. That’s one rep. Do 10.
Lunges work out your whole body. Not only do they improve your core muscles, but they help to improve hip flexibility and balance. It also helps to strengthen abdominal and lower back muscles, reducing the chance of back pain and strain. To do this exercise stand straight with your toes facing forward and your feet spaced one foot apart. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle.
4) Single Leg Table top
This is a common leg movement popular in Pilates workouts. By adding the spilt movement you work out your hip, as well as pelvic floor muscles. To do this exercise lie on your back, with your knees bent so that your thighs and shins are perpendicular to the floor. In a controlled movement slowly begin to split your legs outward. Slowly raise back to the start. You should complete 10-15 reps.
5) Leg Lever
Leg levels are a great way to target your core, helping to work out abdominal muscles and decrease belly fat. To do this exercise lie on your back and lift your stretched legs until they are in a vertical position. Tense your legs and lower them back to the ground.
Pelvic Muscle Exercises: The Results
Like any other exercise, it takes time. Do not expect miracle results straight away. Completing these exercises requires commitment and setting aside 30 minutes a day could make a significant improvement to your health. Once you have already mastered the technique on how to do it the right way and you are already following the three times a day frequency, you should be able to see an improvement in your bladder control. The improvements may show on the third or sixth week.
It is best if you keep a record and monitor your urine leakage on a daily basis to help keep track of your improvement. If one month passes and you don’t see any changes in the results, this means that you may not have located the correct muscles. If this happens, inform your urologist right away so you can be advised on how to successfully hit the correct muscles.