Exercising with an overactive bladder can be stressful! Being physically active at least 30 minutes a day is especially important for your overall health, but did you know that exercise also improves bladder health? Exercise can help reduce excess abdominal fat, relieving some of the weight pressure on your bladder and possibly reducing your number or volume of leaks. Aside from relieving physical symptoms, exercising with an overactive bladder can also help alleviate some complications such as emotional distress or depression. The fear of a leak or a strong urge when you least expect it may be negatively affecting your life and it’s time to take control!
Here are 5 tips:
01 Start a Bladder Diary
A Bladder Diary should include recordings of your daily leaks, your strong urges, trips to the bathroom, and fluids consumed. Be sure to include a time next to your notes. This will help you get to know your body and identify possible triggers for incontinence. A Bladder Diary also sets the groundwork for Bladder Training (stay tuned this will be discussed in an upcoming blog!)
02 Smart Hydration
Sometimes, the embarrassment of an overactive bladder may keep you from hydrating properly for fear of incontinence. Limiting your fluid intake can be dangerous to your overall health and most especially during exercise. Instead, be smart and think it through. You should definitely hydrate before exercising but you don’t have to hydrate right before. Instead, drink a bottle of water 1 hour before you plan on working out. Right before engaging in physical activity, go to the restroom and empty your bladder. A little trick to make sure you’ve fully emptied your bladder is Double Voiding. Double Voiding is waiting about a minute after you’ve urinated and then trying again!
03 Locate and Locate Again
Whether you are going for a walk in the park or driving to the gym, it’s important to know exactly where the nearest restroom is at your destination. It may be a good practice to go ahead and find a backup bathroom, just in case the one you initially spotted is full or becomes unavailable.
04 Be Prepared
Feel free to wear an absorbent pad as a safety net, just in case you have a leak.
05 Get Moving!
Once you begin exercising, take it slow and plan for rest periods. Keep in mind the patterns you’ve observed in your Bladder Diary and plan a break when you need to. Also, be sure to incorporate Kegel Exercises into your routine. Kegel Exercises are a great way to gain more control over your pelvic floor muscles and reduce the number of involuntary contractions.