To make your pelvic floor muscles stronger alternate between squeezing and relaxing them. Follow the steps below to help.
- Squeeze your muscles for one second and hold
- Relax your muscles for two seconds
- Each time you squeeze and relax, it counts as one set
- Complete five sets
When you can do the exercises easily, increase to doing them 10 times per day. When that gets easy, try to squeeze and hold the muscles for 3 seconds and then relax the muscles for 3 seconds. As your pelvic muscles get stronger, you can progress to longer squeezes for about 10 seconds. Be sure to relax between squeezes so that your muscles can rest before squeezing again.
Remember, each squeeze and relaxation counts as 1 complete set. Do the exercises in three different positions every day-- 10 exercises lying down, 10 sitting, and 10 standing. The exact time of day is not crucial. What is crucial is that you develop the habit of doing the exercises every day.
At first, you will need to set aside time to concentrate while you do the exercises. Find a cue or regular activity that will remind you to practice. For example, you may want to exercise just before you get up in the morning and before you fall asleep at night.
Sample Exercise Schedule
Try these exercises:
- Lying down, squeeze for 5 seconds and relax for 5 seconds-- do 10 complete sets
- Sitting down, squeeze for 5 seconds and relax for 5 seconds-- do 10 complete sets
- Standing up, squeeze for 5 seconds and relax for 5 seconds-- do 10 complete sets
Remember to squeeze and count slowly- "1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5" then relax your muscle for five seconds while counting, "1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5." When you can do the exercises easily, you can squeeze longer for about 10 seconds. Continue with 30 complete sets twice a day.
Pelvic floor muscle support usually improves within 6 weeks after starting the exercises. Three months should bring significant changes. However, symptoms may improve slowly, so remember to track how you are doing over time.
Making These Exercises Part of Your Life
Make the exercises part of your daily life so that exercising becomes a habit, almost like a reflex action. Do your exercises during your daily activities or routines. After 6 weeks of practice, the exercises will require less effort, and you will no longer need to set aside special times to concentrate on them. For example, tighten the muscles when you walk, before you cough, as you stand up, and on the way to the bathroom. Try to tighten the muscle when you get a strong urge that you cannot control. It just takes practice.
Do your exercises when:
- standing at the sink and brushing your teeth
- getting up in the morning
- washing dishes
- putting on your makeup
- sitting in the car at a stoplight
- sitting and having dinner
- reading a book in bed
- watching TV - during each commercial
- going for a walk
- talking on the phone
- having sex
You do not have to keep a formal count of the number of times you do each exercise. Just do it several times in a row. Do them often enough to make them a habit.