The right exercise to stop urinary leakage

  • Health
  • Thursday, 23 Jun 2011

Choose your exercise regimen carefully to avoid urinary leakage.

WE’VE always been told that eating healthy and regular exercise is the best combination against a wide assortment of illnesses. However, while we know exercise is a good thing, we’re often uncertain what kind of exercise works best for us. After all, most of us don’t have the luxury of a personal trainer on hand.

For women experiencing light urinary leakage (LUL), the question of choosing the right type of exercise is even more important, as there are certain exercises that can actually aggravate the situation.

In general, experts advise against exercises which involve heavy lifting, which can place a lot of pressure on the pelvic muscles, leading to involuntary leakage. Likewise, activities like high-impact aerobics can also have a similar effect. Instead, opt for low-impact exercises like Pilates, which involves stretching and strengthening core muscles, including your pelvic muscles.

Apart from reduced pressure, low-impact exercises are also good options for people with musculoskeletal problems such as lower back or joint pain, or who are recuperating from an injury or operation. It can even be a great way to ease yourself into a fitness regimen if you’ve not been exercising regularly.

Here are some examples of low-impact exercises that can help you stay in shape or shed those excess kilos that may be a contributing factor to LUL:

Pilates was designed by Joseph Pilates as a complete system involving abdominal strength, deep breathing and focused breathing. There are two forms – mat-based and equipment-based Pilates – and they can help improve muscular strength and control, including strengthening the pelvic muscles.

Step aerobics involves stepping on and off an elevated platform, which does a great job of elevating your heart rate without any high-impact jumping.

Swimming /aqua aerobics work well because the water adds resistance (which means you have to work harder, thereby getting a more effective workout) while its buoyancy helps support your weight and reduces pressure, which may otherwise result in leakage. This way, you can benefit from many of the movements used in normal aerobics classes, minus the impact.

Tai chi is a slow-moving, meditative activity using circular movements and balance-shifting exercises linked with a host of benefits, including improved circulation, muscle tone and balance.

Walking is the easiest exercise to start with – you don’t need any equipment beyond a good pair of shoes, you can do it indoors or outdoors, and you don’t need to pay for any kind of membership. It’s also easy to incorporate into your daily routine; you can do it alone or in a group, and it doesn’t need to be strenuous or brisk for you to reap its benefits, although brisk walking will obviously help burn calories faster. On average, most people walk 4,500 steps a day, but experts say it’s relatively easy to add another 3,000 steps – try walking instead of driving short distances, walking a pet, making a social call on friends in the same neighbourhood, or make special trips to nearby parks for a pleasant stroll.

Yoga focuses on achieving balance between the mind and the body, using deep breathing, meditation and specific poses to stretch, strengthen and align the body. While there are several different forms of yoga, which range in terms of intensity, its overall physical benefits include building core strength and improving muscle tone.

However, remember to seek medical advice prior to starting a new exercise regimen, even if its a low-impact one. If you are unsure, seek professional advice from trained therapists or trainers in their respective fields, be it aerobics, Pilates, or yoga, prior to starting.

If you find that you’re more likely to experience leakage when exercising, don’t let it stop you from getting fit. Instead, use panty liners which are specially made to cope with urinary leakage.

Over time, the benefits of regular exercise will result in improved muscle tone and reduced weight; when done regularly together with Kegel exercises, this will help reduce the likelihood of leakage.

This educational article is brought to you by Poise® to raise awareness on urinary leakage. For information, log on to or contact the consumer careline at 1-800-82-1188.

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