Staying Active When You Have Overactive Bladder

Everyone needs to be physically active to stay healthy. The right exercises may also help you control overactive bladder.

While Kegel exercises are the most directly beneficial for OAB, excess body weight applies pressure to the bladder, and exercise is key for weight control. Plus, poor physical fitness also leads to weaker muscles throughout the body - including those muscles that support the bladder and control the flow of urination.

An overactive bladder shouldn't dictate what types of exercises you can and cannot do.

Here, tips on controlling your bladder while exercising:

  • Practice pelvic floor exercises (Kegels) just before exercising. This will help prevent leakage.
  • If you're still concerned about leakage during exercise, you can wear absorbent pads or other products.
  • Be careful of certain types of exercises that may be more likely to result in urinary accidents. These generally involve sudden, quick exertion - such as jumping and making abrupt starts and stops. Be aware of these riskier movements and do Kegel exercises to prevent leakage (yes, you can do them even at the gym).
  • Solo exercises, such as workouts at a gym, let you stop if you need to without causing a disruption or calling attention to yourself.
  • If you do participate in team-based sports and activities, choices that provide regular "down time," such as baseball, may be better than those that require constant, prolonged activity, such as soccer. This way you'll have a chance to make more frequent and regular trips to the toilet without disrupting a game.
  • Try to exercise in a location with access to bathrooms, such as a gym or a park with public facilities. Walking or running close to your home may seem more convenient, but when you're farther away, you'll appreciate those public bathrooms if the sudden urge does hit.

As you continue to learn ways to manage OAB, sudden urges to urinate should occur less often. In the meantime, you can still make the most of your workouts.

Reviewed by: David O. Sussman, D.O., FACOS

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