Is exercise motivation a problem for you?
Do you look for excuses to skip your workout?
Perhaps you avoid exercise because of your pelvic floor problems.
Read on now to learn:
• Common (pelvic floor) reasons for avoiding exercise
• What motivates you to exercise?
• 12 Exercise motivation tips to help you stay motivated
Common (Pelvic Floor) Reasons For Avoiding Exercise
Some commonly reported reasons for not exercising include:
- “My prolapse might get worse”
- “I don’t want to risk another prolapse” (after repair)
- “I don’t know which exercises are safe”
- “My prolapse symptoms will bother me”
- “My bladder/bowel problems are embarrassing”
What Motivates You To Exercise?
We all have our own unique motivation to exercise. Weight loss exercise, general health, return to health after illness or injury, mental health the list goes on.
Writing this article has made me think about my own exercise motivation.
My personal motivation to exercise is for my general health and how good exercise makes me feel physically and mentally. Exercising in the morning is my way of life. I like to get up early and go without doing too much beforehand. Exercising in the morning sets me up for a positive day and feel good knowing I’ve done something proactive to look after myself. I’m not a saint, it’s just what works well for me, everyone’s different.
What really motivates you to exercise? What’s really holding you back?
12 Tips For Exercise Motivation
Many women with pelvic floor problems including mild to moderate prolapse as well as after prolapse surgery can exercise to a level where they can achieve excellent health benefits.
Here are some exercise motivation tips that may help you, especially if you’re living with pelvic floor problems.
Tip 1 Understand the benefits
Keeping your body fit and strong actually helps your pelvic floor.
If you’re physically weak, you’ll be more likely to strain and increase pelvic floor loading with everyday activities (e.g. carrying the laundry, caring for children & grandchildren, working and exercising).
Keeping your body strong with appropriate exercise means you’re LESS likely to overload your pelvic floor.
Tip 2 Set realistic goals
Start by identifying what you want to achieve through exercise and list your goals with a timeline. Put your list where you read it regularly.
- Lose 4 kg (9 lb) for the start of summer holiday
- Lower my blood pressure from 140/90 to 120/80 for my next medical check up
Tip 3 Choose pelvic floor friendly exercises
Pelvic floor friendly exercises help you workout with the knowledge that while staying healthy, you’re also reducing your risk of associated pelvic floor problems.
Select appropriate exercises for your pelvic floor that help you manage your symptoms and minimise your risk of injury i.e. low impact fitness, pelvic floor friendly strengthening or safe core abdominal exercises).
Tip 4 Choose exercises you enjoy
Your exercise motivation will be greatest if you enjoy the activity you’re doing. Doing a variety of exercises can also prevent boredom and maintain enjoyment.
Think about how you can make your pelvic floor friendly exercises more enjoyable. For example consider cycling – while you might not particularly enjoy stationary cycling, you may really like cycling outdoors or group spinning classes.
Tip 5 Start small & progress gradually
Be realistic about how much exercise you can perform when you start out so that it feels comfortable rather than arduous.
Progress your exercises gradually over time to allow your body time to adjust to your new routine and reduce your risk of injury.
Tip 6 Exercise at the right time
Some women with prolapse problems find that exercising in the morning suits them as this is the time that their symptoms are most manageable.
Short sessions of exercise rather than prolonged exercise sessions are often more manageable, especially when returning to exercise after prolapse surgery.
Tip 7 Consider using a pessary device
Support pessaries can be used during exercise to help reduce or avoid prolapse symptoms. Some support pessaries have the dual function of supporting prolapse and preventing bladder leakage.
Some women with bladder leakage during exercise benefit from wearing a Contiform vaginal device to support the urethra/bladder and reduce leakage.
Tip 8 Exercise with a friend
Exercising with a friend or partner is a great way of staying motivated and doing more than you might do on your own.
Exercising with a like minded reliable friend can be a great source of support and ongoing encouragement helping you stay committed.
Tip 9 Exercise in a group
Group exercise in a comfortable setting is another motivating source of exercise.
While group exercise can seem challenging with pelvic floor problems, choosing low impact group exercises that allows self pacing.
Tip 10 Track your progress
There are many ways to track your progress that can be a great source of exercise motivation especially with our available technology.
You may choose to track your progress towards your goals by recording your exercise session in your diary, measuring your daily steps, weighing yourself, measuring your heart rate or blood pressure.
Tip 11 Share your successes
Friends and family can be a great source of support and encouragement to exercise.
Share your successes with others that care to hear and remember that your achievements can be a source of encouragement and inspiration to family and friends too.
Tip 12 Reward yourself & stay positive
Be kind to yourself if you miss your exercise session, being hard on yourself isn’t being proactive. Instead of wasting energy feeling guilty, turn your attention to planning and looking forward to your next workout.
Give yourself a mental pat on the back when you complete your session. You may like to work towards a special reward on your path to your goal such as a massage or lunch with your exercise buddy.
Finally, notice how good exercise can make you feel!
with Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway
Learn how to exercise safely, strengthen your prolapse and reduce your risk of repeat prolapse.
Prolapse Exercises is a complete exercise guide for women after prolapse surgery seeking to exercise safely and protect their pelvic floor.