Advice & Support
Living with Incontinence

Incontinence and Fitness: Staying Active with Confidence

Published by Sagar Luthra
Incontinence and Fitness: Staying Active with Confidence

Living with incontinence can present unique challenges, especially when it comes to staying active. Whether you're hitting the gym, going for a run, or participating in a yoga class, the fear of leaks or accidents can be a significant barrier to maintaining a regular fitness routine. But fear not – with the right strategies and mindset, it's entirely possible to stay active and confident while managing incontinence. We’ll explore some useful practical tips and present advice for staying active with confidence, so you can enjoy the benefits of exercise without stressing.

Understanding Incontinence

Before we dive into fitness tips, let's take a moment to understand what incontinence is. Incontinence is the involuntary loss of bladder or bowel control, leading to leaks or accidents. It can be caused by various factors, including age, pregnancy, childbirth, obesity, and certain medical conditions. While incontinence can be inconvenient and embarrassing, it's essential to remember that you're not alone – millions of people around the world experience it, and there are effective strategies for managing and minimising its impact on daily life.

Consult with a Healthcare Professional

If you're living with incontinence and want to start or maintain a fitness routine, it's crucial to consult with a healthcare professional first. They can provide personalised advice based on your specific situation and help you develop a plan that's safe and effective. Additionally, they may recommend treatments or interventions to help manage your incontinence symptoms, such as pelvic floor exercises, dietary changes, or medication.

Choose the Right Workout Gear

When it comes to staying active with incontinence, choosing the right workout gear can make a world of difference. Opting for moisture-wicking fabrics that draw sweat away from the body and help keep you feeling dry and comfortable during exercise is a great start. Look for high-waisted leggings or shorts with built-in support or compression to provide extra coverage and security. Additionally, consider wearing absorbent pads or protective underwear designed for active use to help manage leaks discreetly.

Plan Ahead and Manage Fluid Intake

Before starting any workout, it's essential to plan ahead and manage your fluid intake. Avoid consuming large amounts of fluids immediately before exercise, as this can increase the likelihood of bladder leakage. Instead, aim to hydrate throughout the day and use the restroom before starting your workout to minimise the risk of accidents. Experiment with different hydration strategies to find what works best for you and your body.

Incorporate Low-Impact Exercises

If you experience urinary incontinence, high-impact exercises like running or jumping may aggravate your symptoms. Instead, consider incorporating low-impact exercises into your fitness routine, such as walking, swimming, cycling, or yoga. These activities provide a low-impact workout while still offering numerous health benefits, including improved cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and flexibility.

Practice Pelvic Floor Exercises

Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels, are a cornerstone of incontinence management and can help strengthen the muscles that control bladder and bowel function. Incorporating pelvic floor exercises into your daily routine can improve bladder control, reduce leakage, and enhance confidence during physical activity. To perform Kegels, simply contract the muscles of your pelvic floor as if you're trying to stop the flow of urine, hold for a few seconds, then relax. Aim to do several sets of Kegels each day to see results over time.

Listen to Your Body

Above all, it's essential to listen to your body and honour its signals during exercise. Pay attention to how your body feels and adjust your workout intensity or activities accordingly. If you experience discomfort or bladder leakage during exercise, don't be afraid to take a break, reassess your approach, or try a different activity. Remember that staying active should be enjoyable and empowering, so prioritise activities that make you feel good and support your overall well-being.

Embrace Fitness with Confidence

Living with incontinence doesn't have to mean sacrificing your fitness goals or compromising your confidence. By following these practical tips and strategies, you can stay active with confidence and enjoy the countless benefits of regular exercise. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional, choose the right workout gear, plan ahead, incorporate low-impact exercises, practice pelvic floor exercises, and listen to your body. With the right mindset and support, you can embrace fitness with confidence and live life to the fullest, leaks and all!