Pfilates

Leaks when coughing or sneezing. Excessive urinary urgency and frequency. Fragmented sleep as we get up more than once a night to use the bathroom. 

Even after I got into the fitness field, I used to think these were “normal” consequences of aging and childbearing, and I suffered in silence as so many women do. But at the Functional Aging Summit conference in 2023, I was astonished to learn that simple daily pelvic floor conditioning (you might call it “Kegels plus”) can prevent or reverse these symptoms!

I immediately signed up for certification in this technique, and what I learned fits in perfectly with my “fierce” message. Our modern lifestyle undermines our pelvic health (too much sitting, no rehab after childbearing, plus ongoing shame and silence around female bodies). BUT there are simple ways to help our bodies recover and protect or restore our quality of life! 

The Pilates-inspired Pfilates method developed by urogynecologist Dr. Bruce Crawford is so simple that I can teach it to you in a free (optional donation-based) 1-hour workshop on Zoom, and you can immediately start using these skills just 5-10 minutes a day to reclaim your pelvic health. The vast majority of women experience significant, even life-changing improvements within just 28 days. Sign up here to choose the next day/time that works for you! 

I’ve presented this workshop to over 200 women, and for many of them, it is all they needed to start their recovery journey. There’s even a song at the end :).  I also offer 4-week group practice programs and private sessions for those who would like more support.  

The pelvic floor is the all-important base of our core (we all want core strength!). And it supports our well-being and quality of life in so many ways, from our continence to our sexual health. But there is much shame, silence and neglect around this area of the body. Women in the U.S. do not receive routine rehab after childbearing.  And many people do not seek help until they face serious issues. But urogynecologist Dr. Bruce Crawford has developed a simple set of exercises we can all do daily to reverse and prevent symptoms like leaks, urgency and prolapse. 

I’m certified in Pfilates, his Pilates-based method for quick, effective pelvic floor strengthening. In a 1-hour workshop or private session, I teach you the basics, so you can start right away with a simple routine that takes only 5-10 minutes a day. Participants report great results, including “not weeing on myself anymore” and even avoiding surgery. Sign up here for my free (optional donation-based) 1-hour Zoom workshop! You can also join me for a private single session, or a fun, supportive weekly practice group. Reach out at patricia@fierceafter45.com to get started!

What I Offer

Zoom Workshops or Private Sessions

  • Learn everything you need to get started in just one hour on Zoom, in an upcoming workshop or reach out at patricia@fierceafter45.com to schedule an affordable private Zoom session for you or a group.
  • All you need for the workshop is a squishy ball or cushion to squeeze between your knees. I’ll teach seated, standing and mat versions, so have a chair and/or mat ready if you want to practice those.
  • Sessions also include training on how to do a Kegel properly (most people don’t!) and breathing techniques that benefit the pelvic floor AND the rest of your body.
  • You’ll also learn the anatomy of the pelvic floor, and we’ll speak with loving care about this part of the body, which is just as important as our hands and noses, as I say in my humorous song at the end 🙂 
  • And you’ll learn about common issues that many people don’t even know they have, as in this recent feedback I received: I wanted to thank you again for this incredibly helpful workshop, and let you know that it prompted me to finally schedule an appointment with a gynecologist to assess my symptoms. Turns out I have two prolapses, and I literally had no idea what a prolapse was before your workshop (despite giving birth to 3 children and thinking of myself as someone who is relatively “in tune” with my body). I can’t even begin to express my appreciation for what you are doing to education and help women, and my gratitude for your role in my own health journey.

Private Training Series or Zoom Practice Groups

  • After the workshop, you can optimize the practice for your unique body and preferences, and get it established as a solid habit in your daily routine, by joining me for affordable private training or a fun and supportive Zoom practice group.
  • Turn your new knowledge into a solid habit and get faster, more effective results by choosing the right exercise variation for you. I’d love to work with you! 
  • If you’re in the Washington DC area, I also offer training in your home or at my home studio in Falls Church, Virginia.
  • Self-guided program with videos coming soon, stay tuned! 

FAQ

How is this different from just doing Kegels?

Kegel exercises (internally squeezing the pelvic floor) were invented by surgeon Arnold Kegel in 1938, to help his patients avoid surgery for incontinence and prolapse. They’re great, and they’re still part of our Pfilates practice today. But most people aren’t doing them right (I’ll make sure you do!). And by adding some special breathing and muscle activation, we can make our Kegels up to 300% more effective, as Dr. Bruce Crawford, founder of Pfilates, has demonstrated in the VeSY lab in Nevada.  This gives us better results in less time, and unlike Kegels alone, Pfilates exercises have additional benefits for our bodies, like helping increase our core strength and even improving our posture!

What level of fitness do I need?

Good news! Pfilates exercises are adaptable to literally all fitness levels. In the workshop, I teach seated, standing and mat variations, so you can choose what works best for you. Dr. Crawford has trained frail residents in nursing homes and gotten them out of adult diapers! And on the other end of the spectrum, there are extra-challenging variations so you can work on your strength training and your pelvic health at the same time. So you can start at any fitness level with Pfilates, and you’ll also feel benefits to your fitness as you do this practice, for just five minutes a day!

Do I need any special equipment?

No! Pfilates can be done with no equipment at all. It’s great (but not necessary) to have a squishy ball or cushion to squeeze between the thighs. The exercises can be done standing, but if you choose a seated variation, you’ll need a sturdy chair of course, or for floor variations a yoga mat or carpeted area. It’s also nice to have a long resistance band as a prop for some of the variations. 

Can men also benefit from Pfilates and learn it from you?

Yes! Pelvic floor strength and tone has a big impact on quality of life for people of any gender. Men experience overactive bladder at the same rate as women, and the pelvic floor plays a key role in sexual function for everyone. My workshops are aimed at women because of the anatomy and issues discussed, but I can teach Pfilates skills to men in an individual Zoom session (or get a group together for the same price!). Reach out at patricia@fierceafter45.com to set it up!

When should I see my GYN or a specialist instead of just doing Pfilates?

The pelvic area is vital to our health and quality of life, but many people hesitate to speak up to their primary care provider or gynecologist about issues like leaks, urgency, bulges or painful sex. Did you know that urinary incontinence is one of the main reasons for women to move into assisted living? And this can often be prevented with early medical care and exercises like the ones I will teach you. For medical care, your primary care provider may refer you to a pelvic floor physical therapist, urogynecologist or specialized surgeon. The best combination is regular checkups, speaking up to your provider about any issues, following up on referrals, AND doing self-care practices and exercises like the ones I will teach you. It’s possible to reverse even serious issues and prevent surgery, lifelong medication or incontinence with Pfilates, but it’s also essential to maintain a close relationship with your medical providers. Let’s work together: you, me, your doctors, and your dear pelvic floor muscles 🙂 to protect your pelvic health for life!