It seems there's one body part the wearable tech world can't get enough of lately—your pelvic floor. No joke: in the past few months, three different start-up companies have introduced trackers worn inside the body to help get women excited about Kegels, the exercises meant to tighten and strengthen the muscles that support your uterus, bladder, small intestine, and rectum.
Before you scoff at the idea of a workout for your nether regions, know this: Kegels have some awesome health benefits, including better bladder control, stronger orgasms, and smoother recovery from pregnancy. It's just that traditionally, you could do Kegels for free: Just contract and release the muscles that control your urine flow for 3 seconds at a time, about 10-15 times.
Here are 3 gadgets designed to help you get stronger below the belt.
London-based startup Chiaro is set to begin shipping its kegel exerciser in March, according to TechCrunch. Dubbed Elvie, the device (which is inserted in the vagina) takes the idea of "personal training" to a whole new level. Elvie has multiple sensors including a dynamometer, which helps the device measure force applied to any spot on the pod. That means ladies can use this gizmo while walking or standing in addition to lying down—because there's never a bad time to work your pelvic floor, right? In all seriousness, though, some women told Elvie's creators they wanted to be able to do Kegels anywhere, so the female team figured out a way to make them comfortable and effective no matter where you are. The accompanying app offers workouts that can teach you the correct way to work your pelvic floor (by lifting up instead of pressing down) with feedback in real time, and users can track their progress via a personalized score. For an introductory price of $95 (will be $155 on December 1), you could be off to mastering kegels in no time.
The kGoal Smart Kegel Trainer made waves this summer after raising more than $260,000 on Kickstarter. It can track several stats, including the number of repetitions, pressure applied, and squeeze duration (it's also inserted in the vagina). All the data are conveniently collected in your smartphone via an app, which also recommends workouts based on your progress. Unlike Elvie's dynamometer, kGoal relies on air pressure to determine how well you're doing the exercises. But kGoal, priced at $135, will still deliver feedback as you're doing the exercises to make sure you're working out properly. You can also customize the device's "pillow section" to fit your anatomy by adjusting the air pressure. You can pre-order the device now, but the product isn't set to ship until January.
RELATED: 10 Ways to Keep Your Bladder Healthy
One of the big challenges with Kegels is getting women to actually do them—let's face it, squeezing isn't the most exciting thing in the world. Well, another device funded on Kickstarter this summer devised a way to change that. Chinese developers Linkcube Studio raised more than $52,000 to produce Skea, a device that pairs exercises with gaming. Think playing Temple Run, except with your pelvic floor muscles. Seriously. Once inserted, Skea (short for Smart Kegel Exercise Aid) acts as a controller inside your body. It will sync with an iOS or Android game hilariously called Alice in Continent (because the makers are all about fighting urinary incontinence, get it?). To get Alice through the game on your smartphone, you'd have to flex your pelvic muscles to help her move. Skea delivers a soothing pulse when the muscles are contracted correctly. The product is still in development but is scheduled to start shipping to Kickstarter backers by the end of this year. It does not appear Linkcube is taking retail orders for Skea at this time.
RELATED: 13 Causes of Incontinence