One of the things I enjoy cooking for myself is fish. So I decided to share a couple of my favourite easy fish recipes. Ready in 15 minutes, and no fancy ingredients!
Everywhere you look, there are dozens (if not hundreds!) of articles naming different exercises and workout routines that you simply must try. Planks, crunches, tricep dips, and what have you. But there’s one type of exercise everyone must do — regardless of age, gender, fitness level, and body type. It’s an exercise that’ll need barely a few minutes of your day, no special equipment, and you can doit wherever you are — and nobody will even know you’re doing it!
I’m talking about Kegel exercises, a.k.a Kegels.
Kegel exercises won’t exactly give you six-pack abs to show off, but it’ll give you a guarantee of something even better — never having to deal with incontinence! Personally, I’d pick that over the abs any day.
See all those funky muscles? You gotta work them, too!
So what’s the deal with Kegel exercises? To start with, they were designed by gynaecologist Arnold Kegel, who first published his ideas in 1948. He studied how certain exercises could help strengthen voluntary contractions of the pelvic floor muscles.
And why would you want stronger pelvic floor muscles? Several reasons, really. A few of them being reducing/reversing incontinence, prevention of uterine prolapse, post-pregnancy muscle recovery, and better sex! (That last one got your attention, eh? 😉 )
Contrary to popular belief, Kegel exercises aren’t only for women. Men can greatly benefit from the benefits of stronger pelvic floor muscles too. After all, no incontinence and better sexual function are definite pluses for all genders, right?
Time to learn more about this workout that literally everyone should do!
How do I do a Kegel exercise?
Thankfully, they’re not difficult at all. It’ll only take you a couple of tries to get it right, and then you can do them whenever you like!
Start by identifying the muscles you want to strengthen. The best way to do this is while you’re peeing. Yes, you read that right. Stopping and starting the flow while you’re peeing will help you isolate the right muscles. Remember those muscles for later, and well, finish peeing. Remember, don’t do Kegel exercises while you’re peeing! It can cause injury or infection in your bladder, and that’s not fun.
To perform the exercise, you need to contract those muscles and hold for a few seconds. Target holding for about 5 seconds to start, and work your way up. Remember, you should not tighten your stomach/abs or thighs as you do this. Don’t hold your breath either. Breathe normally, and don’t tense up the rest of your body. Contract & release those muscles for about 15 reps.
How many times a day/week should I do these exercises?
Target 10-15 reps, about 3 times a day. You should feel yourself able to do more reps over time.
You said earlier that I can do these anywhere. What did you mean?
Watch yourself in a mirror while you do your Kegel exercises. What do you see? Exactly! An onlooker can’t tell when you’re doing these exercises, because you’re working muscles that aren’t readily visible. So do them while you’re at your desk at work, on the bus ride home, while you watch your favourite TV show… anytime, anywhere!
Do I need any equipment for Kegel exercises?
Well, there is equipment available to help you amplify your exercises. But honestly, you don’t really need them. Just the muscle contractions, if done regularly, are sufficient.
Are there any additional exercises I can do for my pelvic floor?
Yes! Another great exercise you can do is the pelvic bridge. This is not as discrete, but it’s easy enough, and requires no fancy equipment.
This nifty exercise is great for your pelvic floor, thighs, glutes… everything! You can check out my video with detailed instructions here.
And there you go, you’re all set to start getting that pelvic floor stronger and healthier. Happy Kegel-ing!
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Over the last 8 years, a lot of my students have asked me where they can find great “belly dance music”. My answer is “on your favourite playlist”.
Confused? They usually are, too. But my point is simple — All music is belly dance music.
Let me explain. Over centuries, thousands of artists have created millions of different songs and compositions. And as they created, society ended up typecasting different genres of sound. Terms like ‘pop’, ‘rock’, ‘R&B’, etc. were born. In parallel, artists who performed to these musical compositions were compartmentalised as well. Certain moves came to be associated with certain kinds of music, and it became almost set in stone.
And like most other things in our lives — faith, language, fashion — human beings created rules that harnessed art, encasing it neatly in compartments, made to adhere to man-made rules. Anything straying from these rules was either labelled ‘bad’, ‘incorrect’, or ‘fusion’ — the latter a word almost spat out with contempt by purists who believed that set definitions safeguarded the purity of the form.
Now personally, I disagree with that approach. I think a real dancer, a true artist, can dance to any music. They aren’t bound by genre, or by a beat. Their body feels the rhythm and responds. That’s all there is to it. And that’s what dance truly is. It’s a conversation between the music and the body. And who are we to interrupt, or say that they aren’t allowed to speak to each other?
The “fusion” of art forms is beautiful. It’s lines blurring. It’s borders being crossed, even erased. It’s every art form befriending every other, and creating something greater.
Because just like human beings, art was not meant to be divided by borders, or definitions.
This is why I dance to all sorts of music. While most belly dance classes are set to drum solos and Arabic tunes, I prefer to dance to popular tracks across genres. So in one of my classes, you’re likely to hear rock, pop, EDM, and even Bhangra! Because I want you to be able to step into a club and show off those moves, no matter what the DJ plays, not simply dance in front of your mirror at home.
So pick a song. Any song.
Don’t worry about what ‘dance form’. Just let your body moves as it feels.