Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Comfort level warning, yet important for everyone
"Have you Kegeled today?" It's not, but it should be right up there in our daily thoughts with "have you flossed today?"
Yes, for both women AND men.
I remember my first introduction to Kegel exercises. It was during a childbirth class we attended in the 80's, when I was pregnant with Lise. I was a little horrified as N and I sat on the floor listening along with a room full of men and pregnant women and yet curious as the instructors did their demonstration with a cut balloon pulled and secured over the end of a coffee can (like a drum). They had fastened a string around the balloon's semi-tightened center, allowing the demonstrator to pull and lift the center of the balloon to different levels. It was a good demonstration with a thorough verbal instruction, but even though I was pregnant I was still young. I thought, "why would I need to bother with that exercise past my pregnancy?".
Since then I remember hearing a mention of Kegel exercises once or twice on local morning shows--the invited health professional trying to instruct while the talking heads joked uncomfortably. (Well, except for my all time favorite, Margie Boule.) And my mother, taking advantage of those opportunities to second their advice.
But it wasn't until I heard speaker, Dr. Christiane Northrup, on PBS during pledge week and a friend who shared about her mother's late in life situation that I really began to understand the importance of Kegel exercises--AND the proper way to do them.
The doctor suggested, in the talk I heard, that it's the length of time you work up to (holding the muscles tight) that can make the biggest difference.
And two years later . . . I can tell you she's right.