Pelvic floor safe exercising

‘Pelvic floor safe exercising’ is a term that all women need to become familiar with in order to protect their pelvic floors and help prevent prolapse and incontinence. It refers to exercising safely to minimise downward forces onto their pelvic floor and internal organs (bladder, uterus and rectum), which in certain situations, with certain exercises, can cause prolapse and incontinence problems.

Pelvic Floor Safe Exercise

Pelvic Floor Safe Exercise

It is such an important concept to embrace when exercising immediately following childbirth, especially when you have had any gynaecological repair surgery and even following a hysterectomy, when you have increased susceptibility to prolapse occurring or damage to the repair surgery happening.

Many fitness instructors are not aware of the impact of certain exercises for women following childbirth particularly. If you have suffered levator avulsion (where the pelvic floor muscles have been torn from the pubic bones – and this can be partial, bilateral or complete) then you have an increased risk of prolapse occurring in the future, because of an increased genital hiatus. But that doesn’t mean you are unable to exercise for the rest of your life. Strategies such as having a pessary fitted to give support while exercising can mostly allow you to continue with whatever it is you love to pursue.

Avoiding full sit-ups, double leg lifts and assessing the impact of lifting excessively heavy weights are some of the changes you may make. One of the biggest sources of referrals to our practice is when women have developed some type of prolapse after joining a gym, a Pilates programme or yoga. All of these types of exercise have excellent elements to them – and can be modified to incorporate ‘pelvic floor safe‘ concepts.

Advice will be given in your consultation about any exercise programme you are undertaking, so bring lists of exercises or ask your treating physiotherapist to assess if what you are doing is causing any damage. Michelle Kenway’s book Inside Out is also available to buy for $20 and her newer book on Pelvic Prolapse Exercises is available on my website for $25.

Studio194 Sue Croft PhysioFitness

Studio194: Sue Croft PhysioFitness

Studio194: Sue Croft PhysioFitness is our exercise studio situated at 194 Gladstone Road, Highgate Hill where you can undertake classes that are ‘Pelvic Floor Safe’. Sue and her colleagues Jane, Amanda and Martine treat patients with various forms of pelvic floor dysfunction every day – and know the distress that incontinence, prolapse and pelvic pain causes, mostly women, but increasingly many men as well. Many patients actually present to the practice with new symptoms of prolapse, incontinence, overly tight pelvic floor muscles and abdominal separation (following childbirth) after joining a gym and or undertaking other extreme forms of exercise, such as boot camps or heavy weight lifting in the pursuit of fitness.

Movement, exercise and physical fitness should be a part of our daily lives. Evidence is strong that physical inactivity is now identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality and in older adults worldwide, around 3.2 million deaths per year are being attributed to inactivity.(World Health Organization: 2013 Diet and physical activity factsheet. 2014 Secondary diet and physical activity factsheet).

In fact the UK’s Royal College of Physicians report, 2012 ‘Exercise for life: Physical activity in health and disease’ states: “There is evidence for the benefits of exercise in many forms of disease. It is effective, inexpensive, with a low side-effect profile and can have a positive environmental impact. Despite this, there remains a reluctance within the medical profession to use exercise as a treatment.”

So if we know it’s important to move – what we must understand is that moving and exercising in a way that is safe for your pelvic floor, is fundamentally important. So Sue realised her dream to open a facility as an adjunct to her practice, which has varied forms of exercise – yoga, Pilates, Barre, dance (yes dance IS a great form of exercise!), balance classes, even ones for osteoporosis looking to maintain bone density, which are all pelvic floor safe. Go to the web site and scroll through the classes and their descriptions and see what takes your fancy. All Sue’s instructors understand the concept of pelvic floor safe exercise and all classes will incorporate these principles, while still being a good workout and helping you gain strength safely.