How to Exercise without the Leaks

How to Exercise without the Leaks
One of the things we are always being told – by our doctors, by our family, by the media, by basically everyone – is that exercise is important.  It can decrease your risk and symptoms for a variety of different health problems and it makes us feel and even look better day to day. 

Your doctor may have recommended that you get more exercise in order to help with your urinary incontinence (UI).  But anxiety about having an accident, especially with stress incontinence, can make you feel like you are better off staying at home than hitting the gym.  It feels like a cycle – you should be getting exercise to help your UI symptoms, but your symptoms prevent you from exercising and so nothing gets better.

Here are some of the solutions we have come up with to help get you active and stay worry-free.

Wear triathlon shorts – The compression in these shorts can help provide support for your pelvic floor, which may reduce the likelihood of an accident.  They also wick moisture as they are meant to get wet during the triathlon so if you have a small leak, you’ll still be ok.  They can be worn as independent work out gear or under shorts or other bottoms.  

Make sure you stay hydrated – You may feel like you should be reducing the amount of liquids you drink to reduce the chances of an accident, but getting dehydrated can over-concentrate your urine, which may irritate your bladder and increase the chances of an accident.  We aren’t advising you to gulp down 6 bottles of water on your way to the gym; too much water can be a problem too.  But making sure you have the right balance to stay hydrated while exercising can be very important.

Use the bathroom before you start – And feel free to schedule a few breaks in your workout if you need them.  You may feel that it is awkward to leave in the middle of your dance class or to stop mid-run to go to the bathroom, but take them if you need them.  Go easy on yourself and take as many breaks as you need to feel comfortable.

Wear dark colors – Wearing dark colors can help you hide any leaks that do occur.  The same way people wear certain colors to cover up sweat stains, dark colors can make you feel more confident that even if you do leak, no one will know.  

Wear some kind of pad or other product – There are a ton of products made for this.  You may need to try different products, if you wear something regularly already, as exercise can move things around differently or cause chafing.  If you don’t usually wear any kind of pad, consider wearing one just when you exercise.  There are a wide variety of products available and finding one that works for you will give you more confidence at the gym.

Consider changing the exercises that you do – Running and other exercises that put pressure on your bladder can cause you to have more accidents than other exercise routines.  Exercises like swimming, biking and yoga (see yoga poses that help incontinence) can be easier to do without having an accident.