Women who exercise regularly tend to have lower rates of urinary incontinence compared to women who do not exercise regularly. Although exercise can contribute to incontinence in some people and may affect their willingness or ability to exercise, regular physical activity can actually help with incontinence. Regular exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight, an important part of a healthy bladder.
Get active today!
Before you get started, here are some steps you can take:
- Manage your incontinence. Follow your health care provider's recommendations on how to manage incontinence. Absorbent products, medical devices, medication, and Kegel exercises are some of the ways to help you manage incontinence.
- Before you start becoming more physically active, get the okay from your doctor. Also consult your doctor if you have any medical conditions that may affect your ability to exercise (e.g., if you have heart disease).
Once you are ready, here are a few helpful tips to get active - and stay active.
- Start slow. You can't expect to run a marathon right away. You can start with mild-to-moderate physical activity (e.g., brisk walking, skating, or bike riding) - aim for 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week. Start slowly and gradually buildup so that you're getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week. And if that marathon is something you want to accomplish, go for it! Start training slowly until you've reached your goal.
- Make exercise part of your routine. When you're planning your weekly activities with your family, make exercise a part of the plan. Set the days and times, and stick with the schedule.
- Get around on your own. Walk, bike, or run to get places whenever you can instead of using the car.
- Did you know that everyday activities count as physical activity? Gardening, housework, and walking are great ways to "kill two birds with one stone."
- Go to the washroom before starting any exercise. You'll help avoid leakage and it won't be on your mind.
- Keep motivated by trying something new: Join a spin or yoga class at your community centre. If you're uncomfortable with doing group activities, there are activities you can do alone or in your home, such as jogging or using fitness videos. You can also consider using absorbent products while exercising so you stay confident and don't worry about leakage. Read more about the variety of products available.
- Certain activities can weak pelvic muscles. Avoid high-impact aerobics, horseback riding, and gymnastics.
Physical activity doesn't need to take a lot of your time. As long as you do it for at least 10 minutes at a time, you'll see the benefits.