Do you lead an active lifestyle? Sure, you go to the gym or take a walk every evening. But did you drive to work or school this morning? Then sit at a desk all day? Come home to watch TV or relax on the couch? Do online banking, direct deposit, online shopping, and other things to avoid running errands?
Your lifestyle is probably more sedentary than you think. And you may not realize this, but leading a sedentary lifestyle can worsen incontinence, and can even lead to incontinence when in conjunction with other factors.
If your sedentary lifestyle has led to weight gain, this increases your risk for suffering from urinary incontinence (UI).
Becoming more and more sedentary has happened to us over time. And although we are accustomed to it, it does come with health risks. Sitting too much is linked to obesity and heart disease. A British study found that sitting for prolonged periods of time increases the risk of all manner of diseases, including metabolic disease that is a precursor to diabetes. People are especially at risk if they sit all day and do not exercise at all.
Research has shown that a sedentary lifestyle can worsen incontinence. A study of elderly women found that those who exercised regularly â€œhad better pelvic floor muscle function.â€
Another study found that, “Women engaging in regular, moderately intense physical activity have a lower incidence of UI than sedentary women.”
There are two main connections between incontinence and a sedentary lifestyle:
As stated in the study above, a more sedentary lifestyle can make incontinence worse. In the case of the study, advanced age also played a factor. In other cases, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity, which also worsens incontinence.
Individuals who already suffer from incontinence may begin to lead a sedentary lifestyle. This is because they are nervous or embarrassed to try exercising when suffering from incontinence. This is especially true for people with stress incontinence, which is exacerbated by jumping, weightlifting, running and other such activities.
So how do you avoid worsening your incontinence? Or whatâ€™s the easiest way to become more active? One of the studies mentioned above suggests that, “with health behavior changes, including moderately intense physical activity, use of pelvic floor strengthening exercises and weight management, as well as avoidance of constipation, women can reduce the incidence of UI.”
Some health behavior changes to consider include:
Try to get up and walk around about once every hour if you sit at a desk all day.
Drive less, walk over to the drugstore, or walk to your friend’s house.
Park further away – do you really need the closest spot in the shopping center?
Take the stairs, not the elevator.
You should also be doing pelvic floor muscle exercises, also called Kegel exercises, to help strengthen the muscles that work to hold in urine.
It is important to your overall health that you lead an active lifestyle. This could mean even the smallest adjustments, as outlined above.
If you are experiencing incontinence, contact us. Or call our discreet, dedicated Medical Concierge to learn more at 800-771-1953.