The Importance of Exercise For Bladder Control
If you are currently having bladder control issues, then it is important that you consult with your doctor or GP. Suffering in silence will never help you overcome the condition and in there is a very high chance that your incontinence can be successfully treated.
Ignoring the problem will not improve the situation either, and despite what you think, your doctor will have treated patients will a similar condition many times over so there is absolutely no need to be embarrassed about making an appointment.
Incontinence is generally caused by damaged or weakened muscles in the pelvic floor area of the body. These are the muscles that are responsible for controlling urine flow, but as with most damaged muscles, they can regain their strength with regular exercise, focus and determination.
By learning how to locate those muscles, and then working them consistently on a daily basis, you significantly increase the chances of overcoming incontinence. Perhaps just as importantly, you can also regain some self-esteem and this is often just as important.
The basic pelvic floor exercises are often referred to as Kegel exercises after their founder physician Arnold Kegel.
These exercises are totally safe, can be completed anywhere, and are easy to do; the biggest problem is ensuring that you are targeting the correct muscles in the first place. In general terms, women with mild to moderate forms of stress incontinence tend to experience the biggest success rate with using these exercises on a daily basis.
That doesn’t mean that men or anyone suffering from other types of incontinence should ignore these exercises, as every case should be treated on an individual basis.
Like all forms of exercise, it doesn’t matter how good the exercise is if you don’t commit to it and follow through on a daily basis. These exercises needn’t take up a large amount of time, and can even be completed when standing in a queue at your local supermarket.
- Locating The Correct Area – Imagine you are in a quiet room, with some very important people, and you feed the sudden urge to pass wind. The muscles you would use to try and prevent this embarrassing situation occurring are the muscles you should be focusing on.
- Get Yourself Into A Comfortable Position – For most people, when they are starting off at least, it is recommended that you lie down on the floor and relax. As time progresses and you gain more confidence in your ability to complete the exercise, you can sit or even stand to perform the exercises.
- Practice Makes Perfect – Initially to get started just try and tighten and relax your pelvic floor muscles for a short period of time. As you become more confident in your control, gradually increase the hold, up to a maximum of ten seconds in duration. Relaxing the muscles in between each set of exercises is just as important. A good rule of thumb is that the time of your relaxation period should equal the time you were tensing the muscles.
- Little and Often – As with all forms of exercise, you will experience more benefit if you complete your exercises on a regular basis throughout the course of the day. Best practice would probably be to perform ten repetitions before you even get out of bed. Then perhaps another ten around lunch time, ten at tea time, and your final ten in bed, before you pop off to sleep. You could even make your exercises a bit of a personal game, by trying to complete them in as many different places as possible.
- Practice At Times Of High Risk – It is important to get into the habit of performing these exercises at times of high risk. These will be different for everyone, but for some people, it may be when sneezing, for others when laughing. Obviously, this may not always be possible, but if you continue to practise at these times of stress, hopefully over time your control in these situations will improve. The final point to make is that you need to be persistent, consistent and determined to put effort into achieving your goal.
These exercises are not particularly strenuous of challenging, but the simple reality is that the more effort you put into them, the better results you will achieve. Just remember that the end goal is to regain control of your bladder so that you can begin to enjoy life again without worrying about leaks, odours and the potential embarrassment they bring.