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Urinary incontinence among group fitness instructors including yoga and pilates teachers


  • Conflict of interest: none.



Controversies exist on the role of physical activity on urinary incontinence (UI), and search on PubMed revealed no studies on UI in fitness instructors. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of UI among female group fitness instructors, including Pilates and yoga teachers.


This was a cross-sectional study of 1,473 instructors representing three of the largest fitness companies recruited from 59 fitness centers in Norway. They filled in an online survey (Questback) about general health, educational background, and number of hours teaching per week. Prevalence of UI was evaluated by the International Consensus on Incontinence Questionnaire, short form (ICIQ-UI SF).


Three out of 152 men (2%) reported UI. Six hundred eighty-five women, mean age 32.7 years (range 18–68) answered the questionnaire. 26.3% of all the female instructors reported to have UI, with 21.4% reporting leakage ≥once a week, 3.2% 2–3 times/week and 1.7% ≥once per day. 24.4% reported the leakage to be small to moderate and the bother score was 4.6 (SD 2.4) out of 21. 15.3% reported leakage during physical activity and 10.9% when coughing/sneezing. 25.9% of yoga and Pilates instructors reported UI.


This is the first report on UI among fitness instructors and the results indicate that UI is prevalent among female fitness instructors, including yoga and Pilates teachers. More information about this topic seems to be important in the basic education of fitness instructors. Neurourol. Urodynam. 30:370–373, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.