According to one study, 'exercising more' was found to be one of the most popular resolutions for the New Year.
Yet, while gyms are starting to fill up with Brits looking to slim down, tone up and bulk out – who has considered the benefits of exercising their pelvic floor?
Intimate Health Expert Stephanie Taylor at Kegel8 has revealed how to exercise and strengthen your pelvic floor correctly, and the benefits for your general health and sex life.
Both women and men have a pelvic floor, yet many people are in the dark about what it does. Importantly, the pelvic floor muscles hold all your important pelvic organs in place, including the bladder, uterus (in women) and rectum.
If these muscles are weak, you are more likely to suffer from bladder incontinence, a painful prolapse where a pelvic organ slips out of place and see your sex life deflate. So, it's important to build and maintain strength in your pelvic floor, whatever your age. Exercise can help you do this, but it needs to be done properly.
Strong pelvic floor muscles are vital for a woman to reach climax. Studies have proven that strengthening this often-forgotten muscle group can have a positive effect on a woman's sex life.
By practising Kegel exercises regularly, you can increase blood flow to your vagina, improving natural lubrication and sensitivity. It will not only be a win for you but your partner too!
While investing in a gym membership might prove costly, it costs very little to exercise your pelvic floor and can be done from the comfort of your own home for just five minutes, three times a day.
First, sit, stand or lie with your knees slightly apart. Slowly tighten your pelvic floor muscles starting with your anus (as if you are trying not to pass wind – the biggest part of your pelvic floor muscle is located here), then tighten around your vagina, squeeze both areas and lift (or 'suck-up' your muscles) as hard as you can. Hold for the count of five, then relax, repeat five times.
Then, repeat but more quickly. Hold for two seconds, then relax for two seconds. Repeat five times. As your Kegel muscles become stronger, increase the length of time you 'squeeze and lift'. You should aim to hold each slow Kegel for a count of 10.
Alternatively, if you're unsure about exercising yourself, invest in a pelvic toner. Think of toners as a sat-nav for your pelvic floor muscles, exercising them even if you can't feel them yourself.
These contractions exercise the muscles and, as with any kind of exercise performed regularly, build strength and tone.
And for anyone looking to strengthen a weak pelvic floor, consider a vaginal exercise weight - approved by the NHS - to motivate you to work your muscles and build that strength back up.
While it's not unusual for the pelvic floor muscles to weaken over time due to the natural ageing process, genetics, weight gain or pregnancy - these can lead to incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse if the pelvic muscles aren't exercised and maintained.
By performing regular Kegel exercises at an early age, you're strengthening your pelvic muscles that support the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum to avoid and deter future issues later in life.
Keeping your pelvic floor strong can help you enjoy the things you like doing most without having to worry about pain, discomfort or going to the loo often which can feel restrictive.
Your intimate relationships are more likely to fulfil you both physically and emotionally, without the worry of embarrassment or underperformance.