THE BLOG

Your Fitness Program Is Instrumental To Your Pelvic Health

I want to discuss the importance of your fitness training and how you should approach your training to improve your pelvic health treatment, recovery and long-term results.

06/29/2017 12:27 EDT | Updated 06/29/2017 12:27 EDT

Do you have pelvic pain, dysfunction and/or incontinence?

The good news is these issues are treatable with proper care from a qualified and experienced pelvic health physiotherapist.

As a pelvic health physiotherapist at Taylored Training Physiotherapy, I am eager to educate, communicate and change the way pelvic health issues are currently addressed. It is not until we openly talk about this important health issue, that change will start to happen.

I want to discuss the importance of your fitness training and how you should approach your training to improve your pelvic health treatment, recovery and long-term results.

Fact: There is a lack of direction to guide women back to training postpartum.

Most women have no idea what they should be doing to recover postpartum. For many women, especially after the birth of their first child, they are so overwhelmed with taking care of their new baby and learning how to breastfeed that they very rarely think about their own health and well-being. Women who I treat commonly have issues with lifting their newborns, car seats and strollers all while sometimes also caring for other children at home. Being strong enough to both carry and lift children who present what we call in fitness 'awkward loads' can be very challenging unless you are strong and move well to begin with. The most common injuries I see are low back and hip pain due to these offload carries as well as a host of factors including but not limited to weakness in the pelvic floor post-partum.

Fact: Getting back 'in shape' post pregnancy is highly recommended but should be done with a specific program.

Post pregnancy the human body needs time to recover and get stronger. Jumping into a program that isn't right for your recovery or fitness level can cause more harm than good. Focusing on a well-crafted program to rebuild your strength at the right pace for your body is key for sustainable results and to avoid injury. I've worked with many women who desperately want to reclaim their fitness and previous physique, with is understandable, but jumping into a bootcamp or spinning class, or making up your own weight routine can be detrimental for the recovery process.

Fact: Women are fed the belief thatcrunches, pilates and "core work" are needed to shed body fat but this can further aggravate pelvic floor issues and in fact make issues harder to treat.

Women who I treat who are either in their late teens or pre/peri/post menopause each need care and consideration for their fitness training in order to ensure that they are working in the direction of rehabilitation. Quality of fitness coaching, exercise selection and programming can mean the difference between a successful recovery or continuing to weaken and perhaps even re-injure the same muscles that we work so hard to strengthen and treat during pelvic physiotherapy treatment. Poor training can lead to further dysfunction, muscle tightness or spasms especially if you have an overactive pelvic floor.

A clear plan and partnership with a pelvic health physiotherapist and an experienced fitness coach is instrumental in helping pelvic floor patients with more sustainable results.

Though there are some exercises I would definitely caution you not to do especially if you have a prolapse, what I want to make absolutely clear is that it is not just a matter of WHAT exercises you do, but HOW you do them.

Almost any exercise can be contraindicated for your pelvic floor, especially if you have a prolapse, if it is done incorrectly.

This is why it is so important to work with and have the direction of a qualified coach who has experience working with pelvic floor clients and has years of coaching experience in order to modify and adjust exercise, form and programming as needed.

Fact: You need to make sure you are working with an experienced fitness coach and training on a well-designed program to help you accelerate your rehabilitation. When I advise my patients to work with a fitness coach here is what I recommend they look for:

- A fitness professional who understands why and when it is appropriate to do certain exercises during your pelvic health treatment and knows the warning signs of pelvic floor symptoms.

- A fitness professional who understands how to push you to reach your goals without potentially exacerbating your prolapse and/or other pelvic health issues.

- A fitness professional with experience coaching, training and working in a partnership with a pelvic floor physiotherapist who understands how to properly modify, coach and adjust programming as needed.

- A fitness professional who is current and up to date on the latest research on pelvic health and the best exercises and programming to accelerate your recovery.

Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook