Endometriosis. You’ve definitely heard of it. You may know someone who has it. But what exactly is it? And as a group exercise instructor, how can you ensure you and your class members are exercising safely?

We’ve rounded up some key facts that can help expand your knowledge and make positive changes for you and your clients.

A Black woman holding her tummy in pain

What is endometriosis?

The NHS website describes endometriosis as “a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.” This can cause pain, heavy bleeding during menstruation, fatigue, and other symptoms.

In the UK, it is estimated that 1 in 10 women of reproductive age have endometriosis. That’s more than 1.5 million people affected each year! Unfortunately, endometriosis can often go completely undiagnosed or misdiagnosed due to its complexity.

What are the symptoms?

Endometriosis can cause a variety of symptoms depending on the person. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain before and after menstruation
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Abdominal cramping and bloating
  • Digestive issues such as diarrhoea or constipation

The NHS website has a wider symptom list here.

Does exercise help endometriosis?

Exercise is a great way to manage symptoms of endometriosis. It helps reduce stress and anxiety, builds strength and endurance, and can even help relieve pain.

What types of group exercise classes are good for endometriosis?

It is suggested that low to moderate-intensity exercise is best for those with endometriosis. This might include classes like:

  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Some dance fitness sessions
  • Strength training

However, the intensity and severity of endometriosis symptoms will differ from person to person. It may be that one woman is comfortable doing higher-intensity workouts on most days. However, another woman may exclusively do Pilates to manage her condition.

As a group exercise instructor, you can take  time to learn about endometriosis so you can better serve your clients. Your knowledge should include modifications for all exercises within your choreography. These will help any of your class attendees who experience pain on cramping during your session.

With some learning and open discussions, you can help more women get the most out of their exercise experience.

How can a group exercise instructor manage their own endometriosis?

If you’re a group exercise instructor living with endometriosis, there are steps you can take to manage your condition and still do the job you love.

First, understanding how the symptoms of endometriosis can affect your work is key. Knowing what activities to avoid or modify when teaching class will help keep yourself safe and ensure you don’t overexert yourself.

Secondly, taking time to rest between classes is important in managing your own symptoms. This will help prevent fatigue and allow you to be present for each session.

Finally, stay informed about the latest research on endometriosis can help you better understand your condition.

By taking these steps, you can continue to lead a fulfilling life as a group exercise instructor and provide an inclusive atmosphere for all of your clients!

Where can you go for more information?

The following organisations and articles have some great information on endometriosis:

Over to you!

The action list is to:

  • Read about endometriosis
  • Review your class content to understand modifications
  • Signpost your class attendees to support and information as needed

By understanding endometriosis and being aware of how to modify exercises, you can help people enjoy exercise in a supportive environment.