Did you know that one in four Australian adults (4.2 million) has bladder leakage, and that 80 per cent of them are women? Or that high-performance athletes are among those at highest risk – with 50 per cent of tennis players and 67 per cent of gymnasts affected? This elite group surpasses the other major at-risk group – women who’ve had babies – with one in three affected.
Regardless of anyone’s athletic prowess, exercise will exert extra downward pressure on a person’s bladder supports and urinary sphincter. If the pelvic floor isn’t strong enough to support these structures, bladder leakage can occur. And if this happens often enough, there is a risk the pelvic floor muscles will overstretch and, eventually, weaken.
To ensure the pelvic floor can do its job, women, men and fitness instructors need to know how to strengthen their pelvic floor, and which exercises they should and shouldn’t do.
pelvicfloorfirst.org.au is an initiative of the Continence Foundation of Australia, provides instructions, videos and information on pelvic floor-strengthening and pelvic floor-safe exercising.
There is also a section for fitness professionals about referrals, exercise program modifications, referrals and professional development. Downloadable resources such as the Pelvic Floor Safe Exercises app, the Pregnancy Pelvic Floor Plan app are also available.
For free, confidential advice on bladder or bowel control problems, phone the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66 or go to continence.org.au