5 Ways to Fit In Your Kegels Without Causing a Scene
Get fit grocery shopping.
Everyone seems to be touting the importance of Kegels, but few—at least none of us—can really pinpoint what they *actually* are. For answers, we turned to Joanie Johnson, our trusted Kegels expert from New York-based Fit Pregnancy Club. “Kegels are the muscle contractions [and relaxations] of your pelvic floor,” she explained, likening this grid of core muscles to the weaves in a basket.
Kegel exercises “lift” the pelvic floor and target the muscles that increase your sexual sensations (’nuff said?). These same muscles control your bladder—and they’re especially important if you’re pregnant, or if you’ve had a baby recently—or ever. It all comes down to one super-strong pelvic floor and feeling good. According to Johnson, you can “Kegel” pretty much anywhere without anyone knowing…except for this telltale sign: “Anytime you’re lifting and really concentrating, you tend to lift your eyebrows.”
Below, Johnson shares how to sneak in a few Kegels in five everyday scenarios.
1. 8:00 AM WORK MEETING
“If you’re zoning out in a boring meeting, think of your pelvic floor lifting every time your belly pumps in and out—I like to describe it as jump-rope with your pelvic floor. I always say blow [discreetly, in this case] before you exert force—you should be engaging your core and lifting your pelvic floor. Hold all those muscles for a count of 5, 10, 15, or 20, and then fully release. The important thing is not to build up the number of counts that you can hold, but being able to release it afterwards. You don’t want to build it up to where it’s never turning off.”
2. AFTER-WORK CYCLING SESH
“If you’re at a Soulcycle class and you’re doing the up-and-down, out-of-the-seat moves—every time you lift up, you’re lifting up through the pelvic floor muscles—you’re wrapping your core so you don’t fall off the bike. You’re using your pelvic floor without even realizing it. When you sit down, you should release those muscles. And after class, you want to take the time to relax and fully release those muscles.”
3. WEEKEND GROCERY RUN
“If you’re reaching down to pick up a bag of groceries, blow out as you exert force. Then lift through your pelvic floor as you’re picking up the grocery bag. Your pelvic floor is part of your core. You don’t want to do anything without your core in mind. It’s an extension of your abdominal muscles. You’re blowing out; you’re engaging that core; you’re lifting through that pelvis floor, and that’s what enables you to do it without lower back pain.”
4. WALKING WALTER
“If you’re walking your ‘Walter’ and he runs after a cat, hold on to the leash and engage your pelvic floor! In those really quick moments, a lot of us get scared and we gasp in, but train yourself to force that air out because that’s going to require your core to kick in. Once you train [your] pelvic floor to engage with your entire core, it will automatically turn ‘on’ as you’re blowing out.”
5. 1:00 AM ON THE DANCE FLOOR
“If you’re about to ‘twerk’ on the dance floor, you want to think about turning your pelvic floor on (especially if you have any trouble with incontinence)—not to its maximum strength, but at about 50 percent—just so it’s on and it’s present. Visualizing a muscle is really important in getting that muscle to turn on and do what we want it to do.”
Johnson also recommends working with a pelvic floor specialist to ensure correct form and to maximize results.