When we think Kegel exercises (you know, those ones that work your pelvic muscles), we tend to focus on how women use them. For pregnant women and women who recently gave birth, they help prevent urine leakage and make the later months of pregnancy more comfortable. They can help treat pelvic-floor dysfunction, a condition that affects one in three women in the U.S. They also strengthen muscles in the vagina and can even help improve your sex life.
But what most people don’t realize is that Kegels can be equally effective for men. Pelvic floor muscles support the bladder and bowel, as well as muscles used for sexual function, including those responsible for erections, orgasms, and ejaculations. When they are too loose, men can develop erectile dysfunction or difficulty ejaculating.
Like women, men can also benefit from Kegels if they suffer from urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control) and stress incontinence (leakage caused by laughing or coughing).
So how do men do Kegels? First, locate the muscles that stop urine flow (but don’t practice the exercise while you urinate; this can hurt your bladder). Make sure your legs, butt, and abdomen don’t tense up as well. Then contract the muscles for five seconds, and slowly release them for a count of five. Do a set of 10, three times every day. One disclaimer: Talk to your doctor before you start Kegel exercises regularly. If you’re contracting the wrong muscles or not doing it properly, you risk making them worse.