How to Be Healthy, Fit, and as Leak-free as Possible

After setting health and fitness goals for the New Year, do you find yourself a bit more disciplined than usual in January? I do… at least for a little while. I stick to my commitment to eat right, exercise, and work off the extra holiday pounds. I do pretty well for a week or two… but then I see an ad for pizza. I resist it all day. Then, order a large with double cheese by 9 pm. All is not lost. It's always possible to start again. Are you committing (or recommitting) to your goals to be healthier, fit, and as leak-free as possible in 2012?

Eat, Drink, and Be Leaky??? For some of us, what we eat and drink affects more than our weight. Some choices are not bladder-friendly. A diet soda or cup of coffee might have fewer calories than a smoothie, but it might be sending your bladder into over-drive. I received a question last week from a lady who said, "I have been having a cup of instant coffee in the morning this past week; and it has been a week of my worst LBL accidents upon awakening. I am so frustrated. Was I correct when I read somewhere that coffee can contribute to LBL?" She is correct. But here's the thing - every woman's body is different. One woman can drink as much coffee as she wants without an issue, while another has trouble with one cup. Carbonated beverages, caffeine, and alcohol are a few of the drinks that can upset the bladder. For some women, spicy foods and chocolate may contribute to LBL too. What to do? When in doubt test it out. Replace one bladder aggravating food or drink at a time and notice if you see improvements. For a list of bladder-friendly foods, read "What You Eat Matters."

The Exercise Paradox When it comes to fitness, exercise is a must. When it comes to light bladder leakage, exercise helps and it can also be a trigger. Too many women stop exercising because they're afraid to leak through their gym clothes. I interviewed a urologist a while back who shared that a 10 percent weight loss in women with an average body weight of 200 pounds, significantly reduced leakage. Even if you aren't overweight, inner core and pelvic floor exercises help strengthen the muscles that can prevent leakage. Don't give up on exercise. Instead: - Talk to a medical professional for an exercise plan that's right for you. - Wear dark colored exercise pants, or an oversized shirt, and a protective LBL-specific pad. - Consider replacing jump-roping, and calisthenics, with exercises that strengthen your pelvic floor like Yoga, Pilates, Tai-chi, walking, and daily Kegel exercise. - Get a girlfriend to be your exercise buddy or accountability partner. - Remember to celebrate your successes. It will keep you motivated.

What about you? What goals have you set to be as healthy, fit and leak-free as possible in 2012? 

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