This question came from a fitness professional while we were just chewing on the latest “thing” emerging in our industry. I was talking about virtual classes and the game changer it will be when the question popped up. I could not stop thinking about it afterwards because it seemed to be such an odd question, but there it was, said openly and with curiosity.
Admittedly, prior to 2005 there was very little discussion and education around the pelvic floor in the fitness industry that I was aware of. I remember being told to lift my pelvic floor in aerobic classes in the 1980s and early 1990s, but then it stopped. The next time I heard more about it was at FILEX in 2005, when I went to a session regarding core, which was of interest to me. I had had back pain for years and now I wanted to educate myself on what “core” really was since all the planking, V-sits and abdominal exercises I was doing was clearly not working. This presentation challenged my belief systems around core training and reintroduced a muscle that had not been mentioned for years.
In 2009, the Continence Foundation of Australia organised a forum with leading experts in the fitness, physiotherapy and continence professions. I was very fortunate to be invited by Lisa Westlake to attend. From this forum, a government-funded project was formed and was the genesis of the Pelvic Floor First initiative. Since then, there have been numerous all-day workshops, public seminars and community talks targeted at both the public and fitness industry. The link between exercise and the pelvic floor was created and has since grown in both awareness and discussion around pelvic floor exercises and pelvic floor safe exercise.
Maybe, the discussion is new to some people, but it certainly has become one of the most topical issues and areas of interest in the past 10 years. The Continence Foundation of Australia has been the game changer. It provides free education, excellent seminars, useful resources for fitness professionals and consumers and has been instrumental in connecting between continence experts and fitness professionals. I have to say that I am very proud to be a Pelvic Floor First ambassador and to be involved in their initiatives.
I know the Continence Foundation is always reviewing the Pelvic Floor First initiative to ensure it reflects current practice and remains relevant to both consumers and health and fitness professionals. I am confident that whatever direction it takes in the future, it will be well thought out, effectively communicated and sure to provide more insight into the overall wellbeing of our clients. If you get the opportunity to go to a Continence Foundation session or a Core Foundations workshop, make sure to go with an open mind and an open heart: you will be enlightened and perhaps also be the light at the end of the tunnel in other people’s lives.