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Pelvic floor safe exercise for aqua

Exercising in water has many positive benefits for the pelvic floor. It creates less load on the pelvic floor because the body is more buoyant, thus weighing less. This means that traditional movements on land like jumping jacks, which can be problematic, are safer when performed in the water at a specific speed. 

In fact, the faster the movement in the water, the more the pelvic floor and other core muscles instinctively activate to manage the resistance and turbulence that is created. This also means that slow and large rebounding movements, like a wide and slow jumping jack, create potential issues for the pelvic floor. As such, faster movements are recommended.

WATCH: Tips on jumping jacks for aqua instructors

Women at aqua exercise class

Using equipment

There are benefits of using equipment like dumbbells and noodles in the water. When pushing equipment down into the water, focus on the pelvic floor and lift in correspondence to the resistance being felt in the upper body.

Any exercise that uses the equipment to float the body in the water has no negative effects on the pelvic floor, and is therefore recommended as pelvic floor appropriate activity. These exercises can help increase both muscular strength and endurance and can also be used for cardiovascular conditioning, making them ideal for anyone with pelvic floor issues.

The only item of buoyancy equipment that has potential issues is the buoyancy belt. This wraps firmly around the waist to help support the body in the water to do suspended exercises. Like most corset-like garments and weight training tools like a weight belt, this has other implications for the pelvic floor.

Buoyancy belts are required to be worn tight against the mid-section, otherwise they float off the body. This tightening through the mid-section, coupled with the decreased lung capacity which can encourage smaller sips of breath and breath holding, will create downward pressure on the pelvic floor. Most programs will have the belt in place for up to 60 minutes, so the length of time will also create fatigue in the pelvic floor.

To be able to continue participating in deep water programs, ankle cuffs or using a noodle under the body or arms is recommended.

Water provides good support for the pelvic floor and is a great option for women who are overweight, are pregnant, or who have joint problems that limits their ability to exercise on land.

For more information on aqua exercise and the pelvic floor for fitness professionals, read Aquacise your pelvic floor.