Urinary incontinence is not a "woman's problem." It is a problem for men too. In fact, over 3.3 million Canadians have incontinence and 16% of all men over 40 years old have incontinence.

One way to manage incontinence is to exercise regularly. You may be unwilling or hesitant about physical activity because of concerns about leaks. But keep in mind that regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy bladder. Exercise can also help you reach a healthy weight (being overweight can cause or worsen symptoms of incontinence).

Before you get started:

  1. Check with your doctor to ensure you are able to exercise, especially if you are a senior or haven't done any physical activity in a while. Also see your doctor if you have any medical conditions that may affect your ability to exercise (e.g., if you have heart disease).
  2. Be prepared and get control of the situation: Manage your incontinence with the treatment plan your health care provider recommends.
  3. If you're concerned about leaks, prepare for a day outdoors by using and carrying extra absorbent products. These come in a variety of discreet styles, shapes, and sizes for men. Get more information on the variety of products available. Wear loose clothing if you're worried someone might notice.

Now that you've got all the planning and prep work done, you're ready to get active! And what better way to get some exercise than to enjoy the great outdoors. Here are some outdoor activity ideas for any time of year:

Spring

  • Try golf, tennis, outdoor soccer, running, bicycling, and hiking.
  • Sign up for a charity run or walk. The spring starts off the charity run or walk season and you can find one almost every week! Pick a cause you'd like to support and get others to donate to your run/walk effort.
  • Build that backyard deck you've always wanted.

Summer

  • Like spring, there are many outdoor activities you can do: golf, hiking, bicycling, tennis, and baseball. You can also try these activities at the cottage: swimming, water skiing, and kayaking.
  • Head for a day at the park with your spouse or a friend. Pack a healthy picnic lunch and bring along a Frisbee, tennis ball, soccer ball, or football for a friendly game at the park.
  • Heavy gardening, such as digging and shovelling, can build muscle and bone strength and count as moderate- or vigorous-intensity activity. Mowing the lawn will also get you some of the physical activity you need.

Fall

  • Activities you've been doing in the spring and summer can also be done in the fall, including hiking, baseball, football, and tennis. Get a start on winter sports by joining a hockey league.
  • Early fall will probably still be warm enough to do some rafting, rowing, kayaking, and swimming.
  • Everyday chores you have to do also count as physical activity. These include raking the yard and gardening (getting ready for next year's blossoms).

Winter

  • Try skating, hockey, snowshoeing, and curling.
  • Shovelling the driveway, as tedious as this can be in the dead of winter, is a great way to get in some exercise, so do it yourself rather than paying for a service.
  • Skiing is a fun winter pastime. For something different and to really get a vigorous workout, try cross-country skiing instead of alpine skiing.

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, don't forget to protect your skin from the sun: wear sunscreen with minimum SPF 30, even in the winter, and wear protective clothing (hat, long-sleeved shirt, and long pants).