With gyms and studios still closed, more of us are relying on home workouts than ever before. A plethora of online content has become available, however not every workout out there is suitable for every person. If you have pelvic floor dysfunction, it is valid to worry that some exercises found online can be inappropriate for your pelvic floor.
Read below for a few helpful hints of how to modify exercises to make them more “pelvic floor safe”.
Avoid heavy lifting
Heavy lifting increases the pressure inside your abdomen (imagine lifting a really heavy box and how you may hold your breath and brace your abdominals to generate the required power). When this occurs, the pressure inside your abdomen pushes down on to your pelvic floor. The pelvic floor can then be stretched and weakened if it does not have adequate strength to resist this downward pressure. Lighten your weights (or simply use body weight) if you experience pressure in your pelvis or pelvic floor symptoms (e.g. leaking) when you lift.
Use your breath
Breathing out during the effort phase of some exercises has been shown to decrease the pressure placed on the pelvic floor. For example, you may breathe out as you lift your chest when performing a crunch or when you lift a weight up from the ground. Make sure you breath out when you push, pull, lift or crunch!
Choose supported positions
Performing upper limb exercises while sitting down can also decrease the pressure placed on the pelvic floor. You could try performing an overhead press or bicep curl while sitting on a yoga ball rather than standing.
Our Women’s health physiotherapists can develop an individual exercise program for you that is appropriate for your pelvic floor strength.