If you’ve heard of Kegel exercises, you might think that their positive effects are limited to women, particularly following childbirth. But Kegel exercises can improve anyone’s sexual function, improve bladder and bowel health, and even help with back pain!

These benefits will be detailed at an upcoming Lunch & Learn workshop hosted by the LGBT Health Resource Center on Thursday, July 11th from noon to 1:30 pm.

We asked Charles Dudley, a Baltimore-based personal trainer and the session’s presenter, to share a bit more about Kegel exercises and their positive benefits.

How can Kegels affect sexual function?

Kegels are exercises for the series of pelvic floor muscles (PFMs) that sling from the front of the pelvic bone to the back, thereby creating a hammock for our belly organs – such as the bladder, kidneys, vagina, and liver – to give them support.  Some of the muscles of the pelvic floor become muscles for the penis and scrotum as well as the opening for the vagina.  Kegels strengthen these muscles, which results in improved support and control of the vagina and the penis plus the scrotum, improving erections, vaginal tone, and ejaculation.

Who should avoid attempting Kegel exercises?

Similar to any exercise routine, there are those among us who should not be doing Kegel exercises. Someone who is in a lot of pain or has pain when they are doing a Kegel should stop and see their doctor.  Pain is typically a good indicator that something is wrong, and these exercises should not hurt. The other group of people would be those who are very tight.  This can be evidenced when they have difficulty with vaginal or rectal intercourse.  This can also be true for high-level athletes who are always working their core, which includes the pelvic floor muscles.

What other similar or related exercises have positive effects on sexual function?

Yoga is excellent for sexual health!  It combines controlled movements with breathing and stretching thereby giving the person exercise in a low impact, gentle and controlled way to improve strength, flexibility, and stamina (and let’s face it, we all like good stamina!).  If you are sedentary at work and/or at home, then regular walking will help lower your body weight which will allow the pelvic floor muscles to do their job more easily. Imagine what sex would be like if the muscles had ten pounds less to manage – imagine that muscular energy being able to sustain erections and vaginal control.

What do you hope attendees learn from this Lunch & Learn?

Fun!  I want you to have fun!  I also want you to get your questions/concerns answered regarding pelvic health issues.  I want this to be a fun conversation about some issues that can be embarrassing and often don’t get talked about, which ultimately limits our understanding of where the pelvic floor muscles are, what they do and why they are important for not just sexual health, bladder, and bowel health but also for back care.  Yes! Kegel exercises can help with back pain too!  I want people to walk away knowing how to do a Kegel as well as why they are doing it. t

To register for the upcoming Lunch & Learn Session, RSVP to lgbt@chasebrexton.org or call 410-837-2050 extension 1049. For more on the LGBT Health Resource Center’s older adult programming, visit ChaseBrexton.org/LGBTelders.

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