7 Simple Exercises to Treat Urinary Incontinence – Just in Time for the New Year!

Keep your pants dry for the new year!

It’s 2022! Or 2020, too?

As the world copes with surviving the global pandemic, many are dealing with new symptoms they will carry on into the new year. Urinary incontinence is one of them.

Chronic coughing and sneezing weakened the pelvic floor. The muscles eventually tired out and gave up because of constant and continuous abdominal pressure pushing down on the pelvic floor.

Isolation and quarantine for days upon days produced adverse psychological effects such as depression, anxiety, and lack of motivation.

Declining mental health and extended separation from family and friends lead to decreased movement and little incentive to participate in physical activity.

Urinary incontinence, or accidental bladder leakage, is often taboo, culturally sensitive, and can lead to further isolation and depression.

You may not control when you get sick, but you can fix a leaky bladder. Consider adding urinary continence as a goal for the year. Use the following tips to help motivate you to meet your New Year’s Resolution.

Get motivated!

  • Make the decision! – Admit to yourself that wetting your pants is a problem, and it won’t go away without some effort.
  • Educate yourself. – Any amount of bladder leakage is incontinence, even if it’s just one drop. Most of us will experience it as adults in life. And you can do something about it.
  • Find encouragement. – Talking with friends can help to motivate you to push on. Surround yourself daily with fitness and life quotes to keep your mind positive.
  • Develop habits. – Find a schedule that works for you. Set a calendar to complete monthly challenges like squat, plank, and push-up challenges first thing in the morning.
  • Develop habits. – Find a schedule that works for you. Set a calendar to complete monthly challenges like squat, plank, and push-up challenges first thing in the morning.
  • Make it fun! – Find YouTube channels and Instagram accounts of fitness coaches that you enjoy following. And make little challenges and rewards for yourself. If you complete a challenge, reward yourself with a bubble bath.
  • Keep it simple. – Don’t overly complicate your program. Incorporate exercise into your usual daily activities, like balancing on one foot while brushing your teeth.
  • Be intentional. – You could just check boxes and complete a long list of exercises. But for every activity you do during the day, make sure to focus on a single idea, like breathing properly during a walk.

Do core exercises help with incontinence?

Let’s start by defining what your core is. Depending on which industry expert you talk to, the core includes the following group of muscles:

  • Superficial abdominal muscles – external oblique and internal oblique
  • Deep abominable muscles – transversus abdominis
  • Low back muscles – lumbar multifidus
  • Pelvic floor muscles – coccygeus, iliococcygeus, pubococcygeus, and puborectalis
  • Diaphram muscle

Strengthening your core muscles can help eliminate or reduce bladder leakage. The core provides support for your organs and spine. The diaphragm is responsible for drawing air into your lungs. Your pelvic floor and bladder coordinate and communicate with your brain. Then your brain determines when to urinate.

When communication fails, or a team member falls out of sync, the chances of wetting your pants increases.

How do you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles?

Many will focus on strengthening the pelvic floor to address urinary incontinence. Your whole body acts as a system, or team, to stay dry. We will get into other factors to manage incontinence in the future. For the time being, let’s focus on the pelvic floor.

Can you find your pelvic floor muscles? You can’t see the muscles directly, but you can touch and observe the movement of your perineum.

The perineum is that patch of skin between your vagina and anus on women. For men, find it between the scrotum and the anus.

Follow these next steps to see if you can contract your pelvic floor correctly:

  1. Lie down or reclined in a comfortable and supported position.
  2. Place your hands gently on your perineum, or place a mirror between your legs and find the spot.
  3. As you contract your pelvic floor, you should feel your perineum drawing inwards or see it sink in or up into your abdominal cavity.
  4. It’s a slight movement, so it might take you time to get the knack for it.

What happens if you don’t feel anything moving? Or is the opposite happening? Or you just don’t know what is happening down there?

There are some people who have no interest in seeing or touching themselves at all. You might be experiencing so many emotions when considering addressing your pelvic floor. Of course, only do what you are ready to do. And know that helpers are out there that will walk beside you on this journey of reconnecting with yourself.

What exercise helps with incontinence?

Sometimes, your body will just figure things out. It’s always best to just start something. You are allowed to take baby steps or take giant leaps toward your recovery. In the meantime, try some of these exercises to help begin that body and mind connection. Vary your reps, sets, and resistance on the condition of improving strength, endurance, and coordination.

  1. Breathing – observe how children breathe before culture and conformity teaches them bad habits. Notice the movement of the whole system; the belly rises, the ribs flare, and the chest lifts.
  2. Bridge – start on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips off the ground, make sure they stay level and create a flat tabletop from your chest to your knees.
  3. Crunch – start on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Your hands can support the back of your neck or reach for your knees. Curl your upper back off the floor as you point your chin to your knees.
  4. Clamshell – begin on your side with your hips and knees bent comfortably. Keep your heels together and spread your knees apart. Keep your hips stacked, and don’t let them fall forward or back.
  5. Plank – hold a push-up position on your hands or elbows and hold for as long as you can without lifting your butt too high or holding your breath.
  6. Bird-Dog – on your hands and knees, start with lifting and reaching alternating hands out in front of you. Then try it with lifting and reaching alternating legs behind you. Finally, alternate in pairs with the right arm and left leg reach, then left arm and right leg reach. Keep your hips balanced, and try not to sway.
  7. Squat – start with feet hip-width apart or slightly wider and feet turned out a bit, keep your back flat and processed with your squat as low as your knees can take you. Make sure you begin to poke your butt out as you go down. And remember, you have to be able to stand yourself back up!

** The views and opinions expressed on this site belong to Vigeo Ergo Consulting LLC. Any advice or suggestions offered herein are not a replacement for medical advice from a physician or other healthcare professional. My blogs are for informational and entertainment purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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