Pelvic Prolapse Exercises for Fitness? Get on Your Bike and Ride!

How to choose the best pelvic prolapse exercises for staying in shape and maintaining your fitness?  Sometimes it’s really difficult to get a clear straightforward answer about safe prolapse exercises.

prolapse exercises

Fortunately if you’ve been diagnosed with a prolapse, or if you’ve had prolapse surgery it’s definitely not the beginning of the end! Rather it’s a wake-up call to consider how exercise impacts upon your body and to start choosing suitable pelvic prolapse exercises.

Spinning and cycling are both terrific pelvic prolapse exercises, and both are usually very well suited to women seeking pelvic floor safe exercises.

This expert article helps you exercise with a prolapse with solutions for how to exercise effectively and minimise pressure on your pelvic floor (and your prolapse):

  • Benefits of cycling
  • Which pelvic prolapse exercises for fitness?
  • What is spinning?
  • How to cycle with a prolapse
  • How to spin with a prolapse
  • How to lose weight cycling
  • Cycling and bone density
  • Cycling and pelvic pain.

Benefits of Cycling

A wonderful feature of cycling and spinning exercise is that it helps you to exercise and support your pelvic floor. This support can allow you to exercise at higher levels of intensity which is great, especially if you are seeking to improve your fitness or lose weight.

Cycling exercise can help you:

  • Maintain or improve your fitness (energy and endurance)
  • Manage your body weight
  • Strengthen your legs
  • Reduce your risk of some serious diseases (heart disease, stroke, diabetes)
  • Protect your pelvic floor and your pelvic prolapse
  • Support your pelvic floor exercising after prolapse surgery
  • Protect your knees and hips as you exercise
  • Manage stress, anxiety and depression.

Which Pelvic Prolapse Exercises for Fitness?

When chosing from the huge variety of fitness exercises available, consider cycling and spinning if yo have a prolapse or with prvious prolapse surgery.

prolapse exercises

Cycling and spinning are great fitness and weight management exercises. Cycling and spinning are also low impact exercises; low impact exercises place the least pressure on your pelvic floor and prolapse during exercise. In fact with outdoor cycling and spinning there is very minimal impact at all.

What is Spinning?

Spinning is a form of cycling usually conducted indoors on a stationary exercise bike. Spinning is a popular form of group exercise performed to music. The spin instructor usually guides class participants through a range of imagined cycling tracks from flat high speed work to heavy climbing. There are some considerations for spinning exercise with a prolapse listed below.

How to Cycle With a Pelvic Prolapse

Cycling is usually a comfortable exercise for women with mild to moderate prolapse. Cycling is also usually an appropriate exercise for women long-term after prolapse surgery unless otherwise advised by their surgeon.

One of the great features of cycling is that it allows you to exercise for extended periods of time to improve your endurance, and burn fat. This contrasts to high impact forms of exercise which often cause prolapse symptoms when prolonged.

How to Fit Your Bike

Ensure that your bike is well fitted and suited to your body:

  • Upright cycling with higher handle bars is better suited to women prone to back or neck pain; try to avoid leaning too far forward if you are prone to back or neck pain.
  • When sitting in the saddle, your extended (straightened) leg should have only a slight bend at your knee; your knee should not straighten completely, or bend too much.
  • Adjust the tilt of your bike seat so that your weight is transmitted evenly through your sit bones, the same as when you sit in a chair
  • Gel bike seat covers can help to cushion the seat, if it feels to hard. Alternatively soft cushioned seats can quite readily be fitted. Padded bike pants can also help to improve sitting comfort when cycling.

Tips for Cycling With a Pelvic Prolapse

These tips are designed to help you minimise pressure on your pelvic floor with cycling:

  • Use light gears to avoid intense leg work
  • Cycle on flat to gently undulating surfaces; avoid steep climbing hills to avoid prolapse strain.
  • Return to cycling gradually after prolapse surgery when you have approval to do so from your surgeon, commence with short duration cycling and only according to your level of comfort.
  • Progress cycling very gradually after prolapse surgery, and you may choose to commence cycling on 1-2 days per week. If you suffer ongoing discomfort when sitting on the bike seat, cease cycling and consult your doctor.
  • Balance is a consideration for cycling, if your balance is decreased then you may wish to commence using a stationary cycle as an alternative. Be mindful of the fact that your balance may be somewhat decreased after prolapse surgery recovery.

Spinning With a Pelvic Prolapse

Spinning affords women with prolapse the ability to exercise at high intensity to get a really great workout. Spinning can help you to increase your fitness, lose weight and reduce stress levels. This provides women with an ideal alternative to running, for women who may have been runners prior to their prolapse diagnosis.

Important considerations prior to commencing spinning for prolapse exercise:

  • Use light gears for all spinning; always avoid heavy gears (and straining)
  • Stay seated in the bike seat; avoid standing out of the saddle during spin climbing tracks and stay seated instead
  • Avoid spinning classes in the early months after prolapse repair surgery; when you have approval to return to cycling, commence with a stationary bike and pace yourself rather than risk overdoing things in a group exercise spin class.
  • Return to spinning gradually after prolapse surgery; gradually progress the time you spend in the saddle and the intensity of your exercise.
  • Spinning can be a high intensity form of exercise; if you have never exercised before or if you have general health problems seek your doctor’s approval before commencing spin classes.

Weight Loss Exercise for Prolapse and Cycling

Stationary cycling is an effective weight loss exercise for women when performed at the right intensity. Recent studies show that 20 minute sessions of high and low intensity stationary cycling are more effective for weight loss and abdominal fat reduction in women than longer sessions of moderate intensity exercise. Intensity is a key factor in promoting weight loss, and cycling allows women with a prolapse and after prolapse surgery to exercise at higher levels of intensity and protect their pelvic floor.

Cycling and Bone Density

Cycling will not improve your bone density. Cycling is a low impact form of exercise, and low impact exercises have no positive effect on bone density for women. If you are exercising for bone health with a prolapse, appropriate pelvic floor safe strength training exercises can help complement your cycling fitness exercise and help you to exercise for your bone health too.

Chronic Pelvic Pain and Cycling

Cycling is not an appropriate exercise for women suffering chronic pelvic pain. If you suffer from chronic pelvic pain or pelvic floor muscle tension, avoid cycling as sitting on the bike seat can aggravate these conditions. Most women can cycle safely however if you have or are at increased risk of pelvic pain, cycling and spinning should be avoided.

For women with prolapse and after prolapse surgery, cycling helps overcome the challenge posed for safe fitness and weight loss exercise. The pelvic floor support provided by bike riding allows women to exercise effectively for both their fitness and weight loss, making cycling without doubt one of the best pelvic prolapse exercises for women.

prolapse exercisesABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michelle Kenway

Michelle Kenway is a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and author of Prolapse Exercises Inside Out. Prolapse Exercises is a complete exercise guide for women with prolapse and after prolapse surgery seeking to exercise safely and protect their pelvic floor.

Comments

  1. Can you hula hoop with uteriine and rectal prolapse. Can you belly dance with uterine and rectal prolapse?

  2. Michelle Kenway says:

    Hi Renee
    Hoola hoop is a pelvic floor safe exercise and there should be no issue in placing excessive pressure on the pelvic floor with this exercise. I am not aware of any research into the effects of belly dancing on the pelvic floor (or hoola hoop for that matter). I would think that in general belly dancing is pelvic floor safe, I would avoid any techniques that involve intense or very strong abdominal indraw with belly dancing. The side to side pelvic tilting action I am most familiar with should not be an issue in terms of overloading the pelvic floor.
    Cheers
    Michelle

  3. Hi Michelle,
    Just wondering I had surgery two years ago and all is going well. At the gym there are a couple of different bikes – with different sitting positions one is a normal position , a spin bike and another one where you sit and your legs are in front. Can you use any type?
    Thanks
    Linda

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Linda
      You should be able to use either the upright seated or recumbent cycle (lying back). Some women find that the recumbent cycle more comfortable, particularly women with low back or neck pain. Women with a history of pelvic pain may find that the recumbent cycle distributes weight more through the buttocks rather than directly beneath the pelvic floor and this can sometimes assist them to cycle without discomfort.
      Cheers
      Michelle

  4. Alison Neal says:

    My prolapse is mild and pelvic exercises are working quite well according to my physio, though I have not been for a while. Is there anything I can do that will still let me do the standing climbs at spin as I really wouldn’t want to go if I can only stay in the seat. I go twice a week for 45 minutes mixed in and out of the seat. If I step up on the pelvic exercises before and after would it help?
    Is there a risk of sudden worsening or just a steady worsening that I could just try and keep my eye on? Finally does wearing a tampax help to avoid the damage so i could go during a period or does it just stop the discomfort for those at a more advanced stage than me?
    Thanks
    Alison

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Alison
      This is a good question and every woman will differ in her capacity to get out of the seat and climb accordng to the functioning of her pelvic floor. Basically standing and using heavy gears will increase pressure on your pelvic floor – whether your pelvic floor has the capacity to withstand this is unknown to me. Unfortunately a tampon wont lessen the pressure on your pelvic floor however if your pelvic floor is in good shape it will help you better withstand the pressure. I think that outcomes from spin are mixed – I have had quite a number of reports from women telling me that their prolapse presented pretty well straight after intense spinning. I would think that the effect could also be gradual in terms of worsening existing prolapse if heavy gears and climbing are consistently used in women with poor pelvic floor muscle function. It is a tricky question so I hope this gives you a little more to go on. I do think that high intensity interval seated stationary cycling is a wonderful way for women with prolapse to exercise at higher intensities.
      Cheers
      Michelle

  5. Hi,
    I have been working out at the gym for approximately an hour each day and have lost almost 20 lbs, but recently discovered that I have or am getting a prolapse. I was so discouraged when I went to the gym and the stair machine and even the eliptical was aggrivating my problems. Especially now that I am finally sucessful. I am very pleased to have found this site! Now I know what to avoid and I can continue on my fitness journy,

  6. Is it safe to use a hula hoop for exercise after having prolapse surgery.

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Rita
      I can’t see a problem with hoola hoop for the pelvic floor when fully recovered unless your specialist advises otherwise.
      Michelle

  7. thank you so much for this online information. I have been floundering with unclear advice about return to cycling after surgery. Now with a second prolapse at only 5 months post op[ have beaten myself up about whether I’ve exercised too early. Your information has reassured me that I probably didn’t do anything wrong and whilst I wait for further surgery, cycling is still a good thing.

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Helen
      Thanks so much for your comment, so glad to give you some reassurance and help you stay well.
      Best wishes
      Michelle

    • Jane Tupper says:

      Hi
      I had a pelvic floor repair op. and hysterectomy performed vaginally seven weeks ago.Am I ok to get back on my bike for getting around town?We live in a hilly area.I walk a lot too ;about an hour most days.Is this too much?How often does too much exercise reverse the good effects of the surgery?Is pilates a good idea?
      Thanks
      Jane

      • Michelle Kenway says:

        Hi Jane

        I always remind ladies that it is a good idea to remember you are healing internally for about 3 months post op so during this time at least, exercise should be modified. I would avoid riding steep hills that require you to push down heavily on the pedals and stand out of the seat – rather remain seated and stick to cycling in fairly flat terrain where possible.

        General class Pilates is not the best post op recovery exercise unless your instructor has training in pelvic floor safe exercise. This article on Pilates will give you some more information on some potential pitfalls with Pilates. Walking is the best recovery exercise for most women and this can be split up into a number of walks during the day to avoid overloading the pelvic floor during recovery.

        Hope this helps you along Jane
        Michelle

  8. Could you tell me if the Schwinn AirDyne bike is safe to use for someone to use post hysterectomy (4 months ago and totally cleared from physician) with a now slight cystocele? Thank you in advance, and I am very grateful to have found your site and materials! xx

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Melly
      Yes keep the arm resistance really light to avoid abdominal strain and pelvic floor loading. This will mean using your legs providing the resistance is not to heavy. You will know when riding how much strain is involved by the level of resistance you feel through your body – aim to keep resistance light through the arms especially while using this bike.
      Michelle

  9. Hi Melly,
    I was wondering if a step machine (mini stepper without the arm and resistance) is safe to use with a prolapse.

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Susan
      Ministepper is not usually an issue with mild prolapse – just keep the resistance low through the arms and legs if adjustable.
      Cheers
      Michelle

  10. Does walking up a steep hill aggravate a mild uterine and bladder prolapse? Also, do you know anything about the “Whole Woman” posture technique, is there any credibility to the theory?

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Christine
      Hill walking may aggravate a prolapse but it is usually on the walk down. Leaning forwards walking uphill does change the posture of the spine towards a slumped forwards posture in which case if this posture is assumed for prolonged periods of time, the downwards pressure on prolapse is increased. For this reason I usually suggest women with prolapse do treadmill walking on flat rather than incline surfaces.

      Posture does influence prolapse in a number of ways. The posture you adopt has a large bearing on how well the pelvic floor muscles work and strengthen to support your prolapse. For more details see this article on posture on pelvic floor exercises Furthermore slumped forwards posture increases the pressure in the abdomen which is transferred down to the pelvic floor and prolapse. Posture correction is an important aspect of prolapse treatment for some women with slumped forwards for this reason.

      Hope this answers your question Christine
      Cheers
      Michelle

  11. Sally C says:

    I’ve been riding my bike a lot recently and have a rectocele that seems to be getting worse and was wondering if the cycling could be causing it – because I’m riding to get to places rather than specifically for fitness I have been going up a kit of hills – could this be a problem?
    Thank you.

  12. Hi Michelle,

    I just need some advice, is it safe to use massage vibrating machine the ones with a belt the floor standing ones,that have been around for a very long time?
    Also the Nordic air walker, and cross trainer machines , if you have a prolapse? Or will it make the prolapse worse?

    Sheila

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Sheila
      The vibrating machines with the belt around the middle really are of no benefit for weight loss, strength or fitness – I also suspect the vibration is potentially irritating for the bladder for women susceptible to bladder urgency. This machine definitely won’t trim your waist contrary to claims years made about these machines ago.

      For cross trainer and air walker both should not overload prolapse and pelvic floor for most women with mild to moderate prolapse problems. If the resistance is variable keep it in a manageable range to avoid straining and maintain good upright posture rather than leaning forwards.

      Kindest regards
      Michelle

      • Hi Michelle

        Thank You for answering my questions, I really appreciate all that you do for all of us, listening to all our problems ,
        I have now ordered your DVD and book, so looking forward to receiving them,
        There is just another question I would like to ask I have been thinking about this for some time, it is all about bags,rucksacks and crossover bags etc etc, what I would like to know, would a crossover bag, rucksack, and bumbag, make prolapse any worse.

        Sheila

        • Michelle Kenway says:

          Hi Sheila

          What a good question!

          What we do know that carrying too much body weight as abdominal fat loads the pelvic floor. Heavy lifting is known to load the pelvic floor. I think this will vary from one woman to the next based upon individual physical and pelvic floor strength/support and the weight of the bag. I don’t see bumbag as an issue as the weight is carried below the level of the pelvic floor and bum bags are usually small – just like having heavy thighs would be far less likely to load the pelvic floor compared with a weighty abdomen.

          Back pack load would be taken largely through the back and shoulders however I wouldn’t completely rule out the potential for some loading of the pelvic floor, imagine for example carrying a heavy vacuum pack on the back with a prolapse – I suspect that overloading could be a potential issue for someone who was cleaning with a vacuum back pack for work. I can’t see that wearing a back pack with minor load would overload with mild to moderate prolapse. This is where a push vacuum is far more preferable for pelvic floor safety. Similarly luggage with wheels that can be pulled along the ground is far preferable to carrying heavy luggage.

          So in short I don’t think I’ve completely answered your question, I don’t know of any research into the relative effects of different bags on the pelvic floor and prolapse however we do know from research that carrying heavy loads impact upon the pelvic floor. I would welcome the experiences of other women regarding this issue.

          I hope this gives you some useful information Sheila
          Cheers
          Michelle

          • sheila rippin says:

            Hi Michelle

            Thank you for all the information on different types of bags, this has really helped me,
            I will make sure that i will not overload the bags i use, this makes common sense to me now that you have explained it,
            You have been so helpful.

            Sheila

          • Michelle Kenway says:

            Hi Shelia
            I am glad you raised the issue of carry bags as it is a really important issue for women with prolapse that we don’t consider enough
            All the best
            Michelle

  13. Hi Michelle

    Please could you let me know where I can purchase some support underwear that is suitable for prolapse

    Sheila

  14. Savinavrk says:

    Hi dear Michelle,
    Thank you for your constant support.
    I would like to know if you recommend upright or recumbent bike for prolapsed uterus.
    Thank you,
    Savina

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Savina

      I think the position of recumbent cycle will place less load on the pelvic floor (and less pressure on the lower back). Many ladies find that the recumbent cycle position places less direct pressure on their perineum in and around where they sit but this varies from one lady to the next. Some companies will allow you to trial before you buy (especially if you seem comnmitted to buying).

      One important issue with recumbent cycle is to make sure your neck is well supported to avoid straining the neck lifting the head in the recumbent position. Always keen to hear your feedback Savina and how you tolerate upright or recumbent cycle best and/or any issues you face, this helps other ladies too.

      Best wishes
      Michelle

We Welcome Your Comments

*