Bladder incontinence is a condition where a person does not have full control over their bladder and urine leakage can occur.
Exercise can be beneficial for people living with urinary incontinence because it can help to strengthen the muscles that control the bladder, and improve balance, and overall health and well-being.
In this post, we’ll explore the types of exercises that are beneficial for people with bladder incontinence, as well as tips on getting started with exercising safely.
What is bladder incontinence?
Bladder incontinence, also known as urinary incontinence, is a condition where one does not have full control over their bladder.
It can cause urine leakage and accidents which can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. It can be caused by aging, pregnancy, childbirth, obesity, or certain conditions like diabetes and stroke.
It affects millions of people of all ages and genders, though it is more common in women than in men. Treatment options may include lifestyle changes such as pelvic floor exercises and medications.
How can exercise help with bladder incontinence?
Exercise can be an effective treatment for bladder incontinence. Strengthening the muscles in the pelvic floor can help to control urination and improve bladder control. Exercises such as Kegels and squatting can help strengthen the pelvic floor, leading to fewer accidents.
Exercise has also been found to reduce other factors that can contribute to incontinence such as obesity and diabetes. Additionally, exercising regularly can lead to improved overall physical health, mental health and well-being, which often has positive effects on bladder incontinence.
Types of Exercises for Bladder Control
There are many different types of exercises that can help with bladder control. Yoga and Pilates are two popular options that focus on strengthening core muscles and increasing flexibility. Other good choices include pelvic floor muscle exercises, which help to strengthen the muscles responsible for controlling the flow of urine. Balance exercises, such as standing on one foot, can also be beneficial in improving bladder control by helping to increase awareness of the body and pelvic area. Low-impact aerobic activities, such as walking or swimming, provide an excellent form of exercise, while also being gentle on the pelvic floor muscles.
Pelvic floor exercises
Pelvic floor exercises are a type of exercise that involve the use of specific muscles located at the bottom of the core. These muscles provide support to organs such as the bladder, uterus and rectum. Kegels are one type of pelvic floor exercise that involves contracting and releasing these muscles.
They can be done while lying down or sitting, and regularly improve strength in these muscles leading to greater bladder control. Other exercises such as squatting can also help strengthen these muscles, along with providing other health benefits. Doing regular pelvic floor exercises is an important part of managing incontinence.
Core strengthening exercises
Core strengthening exercises are a great way to improve overall physical health while helping to manage bladder incontinence. Exercises such as planks, squats and bridging can help strengthen the muscles in the core, which support the pelvic floor muscles.
Regular exercise also improves circulation, leading to better organ functioning which can reduce symptoms of incontinence. Performing core exercises regularly is an important part of managing bladder incontinence and maintaining general health.
Posture and Movement exercises
Proper posture and movement are key components of managing bladder incontinence. Posture exercises such as yoga and Pilates can help to improve overall posture and reduce the strain on the pelvic floor muscles.
Movement exercises such as walking, running, biking, swimming and dancing also help to improve circulation, aiding in organ function and reducing symptoms of incontinence. These exercises can be done regularly to improve bladder control while also providing other health benefits.
Health Benefits of Exercise for People With Bladder Incontinence
Aside from improving bladder control and reducing symptoms, exercise can provide a range of other health benefits for people with bladder incontinence. Regular physical activity can help to improve mood and reduce stress, strengthen bones, improve flexibility and balance, and boost energy levels. As well as providing physical benefits, exercise has the potential to increase self-confidence and improve the overall quality of life. For best results, it is important to find an enjoyable form of exercise that is tailored to individual needs and abilities.
Improving musculoskeletal health and balance
Improving musculoskeletal health and balance can be an important part of improving overall bladder control.
Exercises such as stretching, strengthening and low-impact cardio can help to strengthen the muscles and ligaments in the pelvic floor, improving posture and reducing strain on the organs.
Exercises that improve balance can also help to reduce the risk of falls or other accidents which can impact bladder control. A comprehensive exercise program that includes core, posture, movement and balance exercises is essential for managing bladder incontinence.
Improved mental health and well-being
Improving mental health and well-being can be a powerful tool for managing bladder incontinence. Stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues can exacerbate symptoms of bladder control problems.
Regular exercise and relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation can help to alleviate stress and improve mental clarity, leading to better bladder control. Additionally, connecting with support groups or receiving professional treatment can provide additional emotional support and understanding to those dealing with symptoms of incontinence.
Tips for Getting Started with Exercising Safely with Bladder Condition
When getting started with exercising safely with a bladder condition, it is important to take things slowly and gradually increase the amount and intensity of exercise. It is also important to stay hydrated and make sure to adjust your clothing for comfort, as certain materials can cause irritation or discomfort around the pelvic area.
Additionally, focusing on low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming or cycling can help reduce stress on the pelvic floor muscles. Finally, it is important to aim for consistency when working out so you can see positive long-term results.
Exercise can be an effective way to help manage bladder incontinence. Not only can exercise improve bladder control and symptoms, but it can also reduce stress, improve mental health and well-being, and increase strength and flexibility in the muscles around the pelvic area.
When exercising safely with a bladder condition, it is important to take things slowly, stay hydrated and focus on low-impact exercises for best results. With consistency, people with bladder incontinence can find a variety of ways to gain many positive benefits from regular exercise.