23rd - 29th May is Exercise Right Week here in Australia , a great initiative of ESSA, the professional association for Exercise Physiologists.
In my clinic I work with some fabulous exercise physiologists who are passionate about assisting our patients with their rehabiliatation progams to get them back to a healthy and active lifestyle.
I am also very lucky that several of them have an interest in women's health and work closely with me, keen to be working in a pelvic floor safe way with our mutual patients as well as taking my rehab programs to the next level which is their area of expertise.
Exercise Right Week is aimed at encouraging people to exercise but with the right professional, at the right time and in the right place.
Your pelvic floor needs as much attention as any other muscle group in the body, possibly even more because an optimally functioning pelvic floor that is integrated with the rest of your muscular and nervous system, is vital to a successful general exercise program. See here how to do a pelvic floor exercise and here for a closer look at integrating pelvic floor and core
So you need to exercise your pelvic floor with the right professional - a women's health physiotherapist initially for a proper assessment, then an exercise physiologist or personal trainer educated in pelvic floor safe strategies.
You need to exercise at the right time - for the pelvic floor this can mean when you are ready to address any problems you may be experiencing.This is because a pelvic floor muscle strengthening program can take 3 to 6 months to change the muscle morphology which is needed to improve strength ( to be able to assist urethral closing and hence reduce leaks under pressure which is known as stress urinary incontinence or LBL) and bulk which means the pelvic floor muscles can give better support to the pelvic organs and help reduce or prevent prolapse.
You need to exercise in the right place - this can mean anywhere from the gym , the park or your local physiotherapy practice when integrating your pelvic floor exercises into your general exercise program. However when training your pelvic floor specifically, the privavcy of your own home is usually the most comfortable.
Do you need to do a specific pelvic floor exercise strengthening program? If you answer yes to any of the following then you probably should be:
Do you leak when you exercise?
Do you feel a heaviness or bulging in the vagina during or after activity?
Do you leave halfway through your exercise session or your walk to go to the loo?
If you answer yes to any of the folllowing then you probably shouldn't be , instead see a women's health physiotherapist for a downtraining ( pelvic floor relaxation ) program:
Do you experience pain with sex?
Do you have difficulty inserting a tampon?
Have you been diagnosed with a pelvic organ disorder such as interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome), endometriosis or IBS?
Are you an elite athlete or perform at a high level and leak when exercising? You may need to downtrain your pelvic floor beforre you strengthen it.
A successful pelvic floor exercise strengthening program takes time and dedication.
You may find it boring, you may lose interest, or even worse you may be putting in the time and effort but doing it incorrectly or not as effectively as you could be. This is where a biofeedback device can be invaluable for letting you know that you are exercising your pelvic floor correctly and also giving you incentive to continue whilst tracking your progress.
Enter the Elvie. Today, women are increasingly aware of their overall wellbeing and are now more connected with their bodes than ever before. Touted as a 'game changer' in the women’s health arena and endorsed by professionals in every area of the wellness space, Elvie is revolutionizing pelvic floor exercises by making a notoriously boring and difficult exercise into something women are getting excited by!
The small pebbled-shaped pod connects to an app via bluetooth. Using a patented system of force and motion sensors, Elvie guides women through various fun five minute workouts. As you build up your pelvic floor strength, you will move to higher, more challenging levels, and keep track of your progress with a personalized LV score on the home page in the app.
The goal is to strengthen pelvic floor muscles the right way, which is essential for building continence control, pelvic organ support and core strength whilst improving health, sexual and emotional well-being.
Elvie’s unique patented system of force and motion sensors give highly accurate real time feedback via the app and correct the user in case she is not doing the exercise correctly. With the rise in demand for exercise tracking and the move towards personal and preventative health Elvie is the latest in the quantified health revolution.
Real-time biofeedback is the only thing shown to work but until now, this technology has only existed in hospitals and clinics. Women need better technology that fits around their busy lives, and Elvie was designed with this in mind. Elvie’s patented system of force and motion sensors measure pelvic floor muscle movement and the app helps you visualise the exercise, track your progress and correct your technique in real-time.
For more information on Exercise Right Week check their website