Tips for Exercising with OAB

Erica Sanderson Jun 27th, 2014 (updated Mar 3rd, 2015)
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Living with overactive bladder (OAB) affects your daily activities. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy them—you just need to plan ahead. Exercise is one activity that’s important to sustain, even with OAB. Here are some helpful ways to stay in shape and prevent accidents while working out. 

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Empty your bladder
Empty your bladder

Always go to the bathroom right before you workout, even if you just went 10 minutes ago. Having a completely empty bladder minimizes the risk for accidents—not to mention that exercising with a full bladder is never comfortable.

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Avoid diuretics several hours prior
Avoid diuretics several hours prior

Avoid consuming anything that triggers urination, such as alcohol, caffeine and spicy or acidic foods for a few hours before exercising. Don’t drink large amounts of liquids beforehand or during exercise. If you’re on any medications that increase voiding, time them so the effects don’t occur until after your workout.

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Know the workout environment
Know the workout environment

Whether you’re at a gym or yoga studio, you need to know your surroundings. Learn the layout of the gym or studio, including bathroom and locker room locations, where the elevators vs. stairs are, and so forth. Being familiar with these features comes in handy during an emergency.

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Wear proper clothing
Wear proper clothing

Darker colors, like black, make accidents less visible. Choose pants over shorts. Tighter pants work best to keep accidents contained. Always wear protective undergarments when exercising in case of an emergency.

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Avoid high intensity
Avoid high intensity

Steer away from high-intensity exercises that may put pressure on your bladder and increase leakage risk, such as heavy weights, CrossFit, and jumping jacks. Instead, try to do milder, low-impact workouts, such as biking, swimming or the elliptical. You should also incorporate workouts that will tone your core and help strengthen pelvic floor muscles, such as yoga or Pilates.

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Relax and enjoy
Relax and enjoy

Get into the groove and let the stress melt away. Focus on what you’re doing. The more you think and worry about the urge to go, the more you probably will. It’s important to relax. When your body is tense, you are more likely to pull a muscle or cause an injury.