Tips for Exercising with Incontinence

Incontinence can be a nightmare, especially at the gym. When you have problematic bladder leaks, you could accidentally wet yourself during a hard workout, running up the stairs, even doing a sit up. Sister…no judgement here! I have battled this since my youngest was born and he is now 12.

Instead of letting that fickle bladder keep you from exercising, check out the following tips for going to the gym if you suffer from incontinence:

Don’t Wear Adult Diapers

Do not show up or get on the treadmill wearing an adult diaper. These are not designed to withstand that type of physical movement. When you exercise, you will sweat (a lot), causing the diaper to become heavy and uncomfortable. Worse, diapers can cause some serious chafing.

It’s important to wear comfortable, breathable clothing during exercise. Doing so can prevent serious skin lesions that will require special bandages from wound care. Therefore, ditch the diapers if you plan on doing exercises that require lower body movement and opt for something like Poise pads. These are designed to catch leaks and keep you dry but in the size of a maxi pad and not a full on diaper. They also make inserts that are styled like a tampon and can also catch leaks. If you have more than a sprinkle when you jump or bear down pressure, I would check out both. I personally used them teaching aerobics and it saved me so much embarrassment.

Avoid Excessive Caffeine Beforehand

Do not consume numerous caffeinated drinks before your workout. Caffeine is a diuretic, which means it causes your body to urinate. Diuretics can make a condition like urinary incontinence much worse. So, avoid caffeine as much as possible. It’s important to stay hydrated during and after your workout. Drink water to avoid dehydration. Sodas and energy drinks contain caffeine and sugar along with other chemicals that can make you need to go more frequently. Also, if you feel the slightest urge to pee, immediately go to the bathroom. Continuing with movement will often lead to a wet area in your nether region.

Work Bathroom Trips into Your Regimen

Plan to take frequent bathrooms breaks in between your sessions. This will prevent unwanted “accidents” during sessions. Considering the severity of your incontinence, plan to take a bathroom break every 10 or 20 minutes. If you are on the treadmill for 30 minutes, for example, take a bathroom break before moving on to the next session. When you go to a new class, always find out where the closest restroom is should an emergency come about. If you have just finished with arms and moving to ab work, you should go empty your bladder so the strain doesn’t push more urine out.

The above tips will help you manage your incontinence much better during exercise. Your condition has a good chance for improvement as you continue to regular exercise. As we continue to build our abdominal muscles, it can help to strengthen the muscles around the bladder to help hold it up some. As a mom of two large boys….I know that having a 10 pound bowling ball on your bladder for weeks can do some damage. Most importantly, don’t let this hold you back. We are all aware of it and as an instructor, I have seen it so many times. Don’t ever feel like you are being judged either. I have pissed my pants more as a grown woman than as a child LOL! Go out and enjoy that cardio session, jump a little higher, push a little further.

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