CLINICAL PAPER Assessing prevalence of urinary incontinence in Scottish fitness instructors, and experience of teaching pelvic floor muscle exercises: an online survey
Background. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of urinary incontinence (UI) in fitness instructors, and evaluate their experience of teaching pelvic floor muscle exercises (PFMEs) and attitudes to incorporating such exercises into classes.
Method. An online survey was undertaken of fitness instructors working in Scotland. This was based on the International Consultation on Incontinence
Questionnaire – Urinary Incontinence – Short Form (ICIQ-UI-SF).
Results. The survey was at least partially completed by 106 participants, of whom 73.6% (n = 53/72) were female and 52.8% (n = 38/72) were in the 35–54-year-old age group. The prevalence of UI was 28.2% (n = 24/85), and severity based on ICIQ-UI-SF scores was “slight” in 65.2% (n = 15/23) or “moderate” in 26.1% (n = 6/23). Leakage of urine was associated with physical activity in 36% (n = 9/25) of participants, of whom 31.8% (n = 7/22) had not taken actions to reduce the impact, and 86.4% (n = 19/22) had not sought professional advice or treatment. There was widespread willingness to incorporate PFMEs into classes, if given appropriate training [86.1% (n = 62/72)], and 67.1% (n = 49/73) would be happy to recommend a PFME app.
Conclusion. A significant proportion of fitness instructors are in need of PFMEs, and those who perform PFMEs do so at a level below that which is recommended. However, many have had some training in PFMEs, or would be willing to provide this.
Keywords: educational settings, physical activity, population-based and preventative service.