Fiona McGoldrick, Women’s Health Physiotherapist
BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy, Caledonian University, Glasgow
From pregnancy to menopause and beyond there is pressure on women to maintain fitness levels, and rightly so. Exercise can control weight, raise self-esteem, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, cancers, heart disease and so on. So what’s stopping us?
Pelvic dysfunction e.g. incontinence or prolapse are often reasons why people reduce activity. This in turn can lead to an overall de-conditioning of muscles including those of the pelvic floor. The increase weight that may result has been shown to worsen symptoms thus perpetuating the cycle.
With so much choice, choosing the most suitable exercise for your body is key. Certain types of activities, particularly high impact, can pose a challenge to the pelvic floor, e.g. downhill running which can exert a downward force of as much as 7 times body weight! An individual’s capability and suitability need to be considered. Factors such as core strength, posture, breathing pattern and rest phases all impact on the effectiveness and benefits of any exercise.
It is possible to remain active and reap the benefits of exercise. With an assessment by a Specialist Womens health Physiotherapist and appropriate pelvic floor training programme and guidance on suitable exercise.