We are tackling a tough topic in health — what happens when you have a weakened pelvic floor. It can lead to incontinence — or worse, a pelvic organ prolapse. Fortunately, there are ways to treat these conditions without the use of adult diapers or surgery.
Toronto’s Trista Zinn has been a personal trainer for two decades. These exercises are likely not done at your local gym. Because Trista’s specialty is pelvic floor health. And it’s so much more than kegels: “A lot of women think they’re doing a kegel exercise correctly. But they’re not. Because they might feel some movement down there, it might actually be causing pressure.”
Pressure is bad — kegels aren’t. But they only deal with a small percentage of the pelvic floors muscle fibres.
Trista said: “When you over strengthen this small percentage, the higher percentage, the resting tonic ones thinks the strength ones can take over and they can’t. And the tonic ones start to shut down.”
That’s where trouble begins — leading to conditions like prolapse where organs descend and risk becoming external. A weakened pelvic floor can also lead to bladder incontinence.
Trista said: “It’s a horrific experience. It’s embarrassing if you leak urine when you go up the stairs, when you laugh or cough.”
Facing her own prolapse issues a few years ago, Trista began searching for treatment options. What she found was a series of postures with a specific breathing pattern –hypopressive exercise — common throughout Europe, but unknown in Canada. The moves decrease pressure on the pelvic floor. And strengthen the muscles over time.
Trista said: “When you’re seeing the abdominals get drawn in the pelvic floor is also getting drawn up.”
Trista points out pelvic floor damage isn’t just a mom issue. Men can experience their own set of complications. And surprisingly, finely tuned athletes can also experience this level of weakness: “We definitely don’t want women to think that this is a normal part of aging, a normal part of motherhood. Nor is it a normal at a fitness event or an exercise event. You shouldn’t be leaking urine.”
Trista Zinn teaches hypopresive exercise out of her Toronto studio — Coreset Fitness; she also does some work with Totum Life Science.