The new year always brings the desire to get back into gear and start a new exercise routine. I love taking up a new running routine as a way to say hello to the New Year. Whether it’s running, yoga, or weight training, there are so many forms of exercise to try out.
However, I think there’s an issue that needs to be addressed. Many women don’t like to talk about it, but I think it’s crucial to encompass some of the lesser-known struggles that come with exercise. Let’s talk about bladder leaks and exercise.
Bladder Leaks: What’s the Big Deal?
Let’s go back to the basics on bladder leaks. Bladder leaks, also known as incontinence, is when your bladder starts to lose a little (or a lot) control. Sometimes something as simple as a sneeze or cough presents you with a drip or spritz. Other times it’s suddenly getting that gotta-go feeling! As you might imagine, this can put a damper on exercising.
The exertion of exercise can correlate with bladder leaks, so in this case, what’s a girl to do? First thing’s first, do NOT give up your favorite exercise routine just because of a little leakage. Here are some of my favorite tips for battling leaks while managing to work up a sweat!
#1 Take A Quick Pee As A Warm-Up
It’s the most simple preventative step but making sure to empty your bladder as much as possible before a strenuous workout can stop the leaks before they start. So use the bathroom before a run, fit in an extra pee break before that yoga or Pilates session, and be reassured that no bladder leaks will be coming your way.
#2 Wear Black Shorts/Leggings To Exercise
The bright teal workout leggings you just bought are cute indeed. However, if you find yourself self-conscious about possible bladder leaks while exercising, might I suggest an alternate outfit choice? Black leggings or shorts can hide the evidence of any bladder leaks, and you’ll look oh-so-chic while working out as well. And, make sure to stay extra protected with disposable underwear or a pad under those black leggings, like those from Lily Bird.
#3 Avoid Bladder Irritants
I’m sorry to break it to you, but that cup o’ joe will have to wait until after your workout. Some of the most well-known bladder irritants include caffeinated beverages and spicy and acidic foods. So your best bet is to avoid bladder irritants before a workout. Go easy on your bladder so you can work out in peace.
#4 One Word: Kegels
Kegels, Kegels, Kegels! They’re a great way to strengthen your pelvic floor and prevent bladder leaks. Not to mention, they’re so easy to slip into a workout routine. Go ahead and try it. You can sneak in a few during a round of planks or in the middle of your favorite yoga routine.
As a refresher, in order to do a Kegel, contract the muscles that you would use to stop the flow of urine. Hold for three seconds, in intervals of ten. You can do this set of exercises whenever you want, and you won’t regret it. Many women swear by Kegels because their effects on the pelvic floor are super beneficial for ladies struggling with bladder leaks.
#5 Perfect Your Exercise Form
If you’re a runner, you may be surprised that having a proper form and practicing breathing can help with bladder leakage. Another thing that helps is making sure you’re not exerting yourself while running. Many runners believe in the notion that you should never stop running once you’re in the groove. However, though this idea is motivational and can be beneficial in some forms, it’s not the best method. When you do this, you’re exerting your body more than you realize, and this can be an easy route for bladder leaks to pass.
Build Your Endurance With Exercise
Building up endurance is crucial to maintain a good running routine that doesn’t stress your bladder. Do this by maintaining steady intervals of running and walking, walking preferably done when you’re not breathing correctly. Keep your eyes forward, arms swinging front and back, not side to side. Also, keep an ear out for your steps. If you hear your feet pounding as you run, try and lighten the step by landing on the middle or front of your foot instead of your heel. This reduces the force by almost half.
You Can Still Work It Out
We all love to get a good workout in. It’s good for the body, mind, and soul. Whether it’s a good run, a nice yoga session, or lifting a couple of weights, bladder leaks can get in the way. However, all hope is not lost, of course, because this is a pretty common problem with proven solutions. So I hope these tips will help you in your next workout, because like I always say, a leak shouldn’t ruin your week! Or, in this case, your exercise routine.
Want to make sure you’re protected while out at your next Pilates or Jazzercize class? Lily Bird can help. Lily Bird has you covered with pads and underwear delivered right to your door. Start your trial today.
By Jessica Thomas, MPH