Being overweight can make your bladder and incontinence issues worse as extra weight may put pressure on pelvic floor muscles which can become weak so it is recommended where possible to try to lose a few pounds and do regular exercise. Below are some of the best workouts to help with your incontinence symptoms.
Unlike running, jumping, or rock climbing, yoga doesn’t involve constant up-down movement and force from the exercise. It involves controlled movement, making it perfect for women who may have issues with incontinence.
Most yoga poses require that you engage your core—a group of muscles that includes your abs, diaphragm, pelvic floor, back, glutes, and more—for strength and balance. And when you work those muscles consistently, you can get a serious leg up on your symptoms. What’s more, the therapeutic meditation involved in yoga also helps you take your urinary problem in stride.
On the same wavelength as yoga, Pilates also does wonders for the pelvic floor muscles. With Pilates reformer classes, for example, you use a specialized machine called a “reformer” to do traditional moves—like bridges—to build a strong core and improve balance.
The bridge series of Pilate’s reformer is done lying supine so there is no downward pressure, and you utilize the resistance of straps to strengthen your inner thighs and pelvic floor, in the standing series, you stand on the reformer and move the platform side to side with your legs, again utilizing your inner thighs and Kegels.
If it’s a more comprehensive workout you’re after, a swim is one of the most effective ways to burn fat and tone every muscle in your body. Plus, the gravity-defying weightlessness of being in the water brings much-needed relief to overburdened bladders.
Swimming laps [or doing water aerobics] is low impact, and there is no pressure on the pelvic floor muscle. It is therefore an excellent choice for people who suffer from stress incontinence.”
Bridge: While lying on your back, place a pillow between your knees and squeeze your legs together as you tighten your pelvic floor. Holding the squeeze, tighten your lower abs and engage your glutes to raise your bum off the floor and create a bridge with your body. Making sure to avoid using your shoulder muscles, hold your body up for 15 seconds and then lower back down. Repeat five times per set, for three sets.
Plank: While lying face-down, lift your body up on your elbows and toes, with your spine in a straight line and your arms placed directly below your shoulders. Activate your pelvic floor by squeezing your inner thighs together, and do not allow your hips to drop on either side. To start, hold the plank for 30 seconds, rest, and repeat three times. Work your way up to a one-minute hold.
Clamshell: Lying on your side with knees bent, lift the knee of your top leg toward the ceiling, keeping your feet together. Ensure that your head, shoulders, hips, and feet are aligned—as if you’re lying against an imaginary wall—and that your hips do not roll backward during the exercise. Do 10 reps on each side per set, working up to three sets.
Bird Dog: In a table top position (on all fours, with your hands placed directly underneath your shoulders and your knees placed directly beneath your hips), tighten your core muscles while keeping your spine neutral. (Don’t let you back sag or arch.) Extend one arm and the opposite leg straight out at the same time. Return to starting position, and then repeat on the other side. Continue alternating sides, 10 times each per set, and work your way up to three sets.
Side Plank: While lying on your side—with your arm bent at 90 degrees at the elbow, and with your feet and hips stacked one on top of the other—lift your body up on your elbow and your bottom foot as you activate your pelvic floor. Keeping your head, hips, and spine in a straight line, hold the side plank for 30 seconds, and then repeat on the other side. Repeat three times on each side, and work your way up to a one-minute hold on each side.
For all your incontinence needs please visit www.incontinenceuk.co.uk as we have everything available from incontinence pads to incontinence pants and bed and chair products including the Depend Active Fit Pants for Women and the Depend Real Fit Pants for Men. Lightweight cotton like fabric designed to look and feel like normal underwear so perfect to wear when doing exercise.
Incontinence UK Team