What it takes, is what it takes
Consider this scenario: You have struggled with a sore knee for a long time but it has become more painful and you are avoiding bending down, climbing stairs and lifting heavy loads. You finally decide to see a physiotherapist who recommends some simple daily exercises and explains how to bend, climb stairs and lift heavy loads to avoid straining the knee while it recovers. It is good advice and you notice that as long as you follow the recommendations, your knee starts to feel better and heal.
Pelvic floor dysfunction can be viewed in the same way. Unfortunately, we often try to ignore the symptoms because we want to continue exercising, and the injured, or in this case, weakened muscles aren’t properly rehabilitated to withstand the activities causing or exacerbating the problem. The good news is staying fit and healthy and keeping the pelvic floor safe during activities is possible, it just means that alternative exercises are preferable. But with a great trainer/pelvic floor specialist such as a women’s health physiotherapist, these modified exercises can be fun and a great way to stay active.
It comes down to priorities; high intensity, high-load exercise with constant leaking and life-changing habits, or modified intensity with exercises that protect and improve the function of the pelvic floor to eliminate discomfort and embarrassment. For some women, the latter option might only be required for a short time until function is restored and they can return to previous exercise regimes, while for others, it could be a slower and perhaps long-term adjustment.
There can be a perception that the pelvic floor safe options are boring, but that is about how the exercises are viewed. It’s a case of first things first, and the pelvic floor really does come first, especially as one of its major roles is to support the internal organs and respond as part of the core muscles that support the spine. Just like a compromised knee, a compromised pelvic floor makes it hard to function in everyday life, let alone trying to exercise with good form and technique.
Exercise is a way to improve fitness, health and wellbeing. When your pelvic floor is fully functional and responding appropriately, then life can be fully enjoyed.
Written by fitness leader and Pelvic Floor First ambassador Marietta Mehanni