Pelvic floor safe exercises are exercises designed to protect your pelvic floor. Certain exercises can overload the pelvic floor, weakening it over time and increasing the risk of developing problems, such as incontinence or prolapse.
Although most women have some knowledge about the pelvic floor, often it is only considered during pregnancy and following childbirth. However, research has shown that people who engage in high impact exercises and sport are at risk of developing pelvic floor problems. In fact, the incidence of urinary incontinence is higher in active people compared to the normal population.
Am I at risk?
Throughout our lifetime, there are several life changes, which put us more at risk. These include:
- Pregnancy and for at least than 6 months postnatally
- Following continence or prolapse surgery or following a hysterectomy (women)
- Prostrate problems or following prostrate surgery (men)
- Menopause and ageing
- Being overweight or under weight
- If you experience symptoms of prolapse (heaviness, pressure or bulging down below) or urinary leakage (such as leaking with coughing, sneezing or with exercise)
How can I protect my pelvic floor?
- Use your pelvic floor during exercise
- Maintain good posture during exercise
- Breathe out with effort to avoid straining
- Avoid heavy lifting and strong abdominal exercises
- Be aware of your pelvic floor…can you feel any downward pressure on the pelvic floor during exercise?
What exercises are pelvic floor safe?
Although all exercise will cause an increase in abdominal pressure, and therefore put some load on the pelvic floor, the following exercises are considered ‘safe’.
- Cycling (seated)
- Walking in the water
- Water aerobics (low intensity)
- Low impact exercise classes
- Cross trainer (low resistance)
- Seated weights (low resistance)
What exercises should I avoid?
The following is a list of exercises which cause an increased load on your pelvic floor. If you are experiencing any symptoms, or have several risk factors, it is important to limit these exercises.
- Abdominal exercises e.g. sit ups or crunches
- Jogging/ running
- High impact exercise classes e.g. star jumps
- Sports that involve a lot of stop-start running or changes in direction e.g. tennis, netball
- Lifting heavy weights
- Any exercise where you experience downward pressure on the pelvic floor
You can modify your exercise by:
- Lowering the weight you use and increasing the number of repetitions gradually.
- Interval training (alternate between low and high impact exercise) e.g. walking and running
- Choose supported positions e.g. sitting when using upper body weights
For information on pelvic floor exercises read…
If you have any specific concerns, we would recommend you could see a pelvic floor physiotherapist. This is a physiotherapist who has undertaken specialised training in this area, is able to assess your pelvic floor and give you specific guidance with what exercises are safe for you.
Contact Janette for more information at email@example.com or call reception to make an appointment on 9518 0722
Janette O’Toole Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
Better Health Practice Stanmore