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Overcoming Barriers to Exercise for Women

Insufficient physical activity is a major risk factor for developing chronic disease, including mental health problems. The World Health Organisation recognises physical inactivity as a serious and growing public health problem and aims to reduce it by 10% by 2025. Globally, women are less active than men (global average of 31·7% for inactive women vs 23·4% for inactive men)1.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction is the number one barrier to exercise for women in Australia2, yet stress incontinence can be cured using movement in 80% of cases3. In this session we will discuss how to make exercise more accessible for women with pelvic floor dysfunctions, and also address other barriers to exercise.

Other barriers include:

  • Not feeling like they belong in the weights room
  • Not understanding why exercise and what types of exercise are important to them
  • Feelings of judgement; regarding their size, appearance, and ability
  • Competing demands on their time.
  • In Malaysia, one of the top barriers is transport to an appropriate facility.


1The Lancet Public Health (2019) Time to Tackle the Physical Activity Gender Gap, retrieved 26th July 2023 from

2Dakic JG, Cook J, Hay-Smith J, Lin KY, Ekegren C, Frawley HC. Pelvic Floor Symptoms Are an Overlooked Barrier to Exercise Participation: A Cross-Sectional Online Survey of 4556 Women Who Are Symptomatic. Phys Ther. 2022 Mar 1;102(3):pzab284. doi: 10.1093/ptj/pzab284. PMID: 34939122.

3Pelvic floor dysfunction: prevention and non-surgical management. London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE); 2021 Dec 9. (NICE Guideline, No. 210.) Available from:


Course Description

1 CEC with Fitness Australia

1 CPD with NZ Reps

In this session we will be discussing exercise accessibility for women with pelvic floor dysfunction. In it, you can expect to:

  • Identify the top barriers to exercise in the Asia Pacific region, with special consideration to pelvic floor exercise.
  • Identify the changes you can make to your business space to help overcome those challenges.
  • Identify the changes you can make to your advertising and communication to overcome those challenges.
  • Identify key gaps in your knowledge and where to fill them.

This course will take 1-2hrs to complete.


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