So you’ve decided to finally get strong and shed those extra kilos that have piled up over the years. You join a gym or worse a bootcamp. Ok now we’ve heard they nearly kill you in there with their burpees and squat jumps. But you’ve gathered up enough courage and will power to go through the exercises come hail or high storm. So you try to give it your best shot. You think ah, classes are more my thing. You’re in there for an hour and there’s music and other people. But the next thing you know your leaking! You cough or sneeze and there it is. Even laughing is causing it now. Oh what the…??? According to The Deloitte Access Economics report The economic impact of incontinence in Australia 1 in 3 women who ever had a baby wet themselves.
Did you know that doing high intensity exercises can actually weaken your pelvic floor muscles? Of Course you didn’t! This is not something that people will tell you outright. Because it’s not physios taking those classes in the gym right? Anyway, the point is, you wouldn’t have known so don’t beat yourself over it. Gym trainers who take classes are not trained in these sort of things.
The one thing that’s advised to people doing floor exercises is to flatten their backs. What this does is put tremendous pressure on the pelvic floor muscles. This is because you push down on the pelvic area rather than pull up. This is exactly what happens when people do high intensity exercises as well. They are breathing heavily and exerting so much downward pressure on their pelvic floor muscles that the muscles can give. In fact, some older women have ended up with prolapse because of doing this. And don’t you men think for a second that you have nothing to worry about. Heard of inguinal hernia? Isn’t this the reason all the gym junkies wear that belt around their waist while deadlift? Hmm…now you understand.
So please next time you’re in a group class, do not flatten your back against the floor. Do your best to maintain a slight arch in your back. Small enough to slide your hand underneath. This will prevent any additional pressure to your pelvic floor muscles. Also make sure that you don’t hold your breathe! Especially when some of those exercises get challenging. In order to be certain you’re doing the movements correctly, see a physio! That’s exactly what our job is. To make sure that your movements are not hurting your joints.