My new friend, Karen, invited me to her home last week for a morning cup of coffee before work. Like me, she’s super crazy busy, and this was the only time we could connect. Karen met me at the door in her workout clothes. Her eyes were bright. Her house was spotless, and her body was slim and toned. I hated her instantly. While I drank coffee, she opted for a healthier choice, placing fruits, greens, and other nutritious ingredients into her blender. “Please tell me you are not perfect,” I asked her. Once she admitted that her kitchen was a mess just an hour earlier, and it had taken her years to figure out how to fit exercise into her life, I couldn’t help but like her.
Women like Karen inspire me to stop using my favorite excuse, “I’m too busy to exercise!” Making time for it is especially important for the one in three of us who experiences LBL. There are some quick and simple exercises that (if done correctly) may prevent, reduce or sometimes even eliminate those unwelcome leaks. If you’re a busy woman like Karen and me, I have some tips for fitting LBL reducing exercises into your hectic life.
- Tip 1: Kegel in the car. Turn every red light into a signal to exercise your pelvic floor muscles. (To learn how to do it properly, talk to your health care professional and read this helpful article: How to Kegel) Squeeze and release until the light turns green. (For every squeeze, it helps to imagine taking your pelvic floor up several floors of an elevator.) When you do Kegel exercises correctly, no one can tell, so you can even do it when carpooling.
- Tip 2: Get up and walk. Do you spend a lot of time sitting? Some experts say that poor posture and sedentary lifestyles contribute to issues like LBL. Start setting a timer to remind yourself to stand up and walk at regular intervals throughout the day. Have a playlist of favorite music to add an element of fun to your LBL reducing exercise time. The music will lift your mood and make this diversion something fun you look forward to throughout the day.
- Tip 3: Exercise during commercials. Wouldn’t it be great if watching TV was good for your health? It can be if you use the time during the commercials to do core strengthening exercises.
- Tip 4: Include core exercises and Kegels into your regular workout routine. When it comes to exercise, it isn’t always easy to be self-directed. If you find it easier to work along with a DVD, the Women’s Health Foundation has a program you can use specifically designed to strengthen your pelvic pyramid (which consists of three key muscle groups, including the pelvic floor.) Strengthening your pelvic pyramid not only helps with LBL, it can also enhance your sex life! For more information about the DVD, visit www.totalcontrolprogram.com.
- Tip 5: Play to win. Turn LBL reducing exercise into a game by putting an “x” on your calendar each day you do pelvic floor strengthening exercises. At the end of each month, count up each “x” and see if you reached the “winning goal” you set for yourself. Celebrate by rewarding yourself with a special gift you can look forward to all month long. It can be something small, like a bouquet of fresh flowers, or something a bit more exciting, like a new pair of shoes. Better yet, get your girlfriends involved and when all of you reach your target each month, celebrate with a girl’s night out.
- Tip 6: Combine Kegels with other daily habits. Have you ever noticed that you are never too busy to brush your teeth? It’s a habit you do without question. So, why not do your Kegel exercises while brushing? Worried you’ll forget? Use a visual reminder until it becomes a habit. Put a post-it note on your bathroom mirror, or tie some dental floss on your toothbrush to remind you. You might prefer to do sets of Kegels (squeeze to the count of five, release to the count of five) while putting on makeup, drying your hair, or unloading the dishwasher too.