Peeing during exercise? Here’s how to deal

sDo you know how it happens when a big sneeze surprises you, and all of a sudden you’ve peed a little? incontinenceLeakage occurs when you lose control of your bladder and the ability to hold urine.

Amelia Bonchore, a leading physiotherapist at Genesis PT & Wellness in Dallas, Texas, with a specialization in Pelvic Health and Restoration. The leakage can also be due to urge incontinence, where you rush to the bathroom but can’t get to it in time.

When caused by sneezing, or other movements such as coughing, laughing, jumping, running, or twisting, it is most likely incontinence, in which movement compresses your bladder, causing little urine to come out. “Your nervous system and some muscles do not coordinate well with each other to be able to withstand the force or pressure that is being exerted, and this allows urine to exit the urethra,” she explains.

This is very common during exercise, with repetitive high-intensity training, running, and lifting being the top three offenders. And anytime there is a significant impact from jumping or BP work, such as high knees, mountain climbers, or squat and flexion jumps, you will be at greater risk of injury.

Exercises that are most likely to make you pee

squat jumps

Jumping squats can lead to a greater risk of leakage due to the required biomechanics. “Increasing the downward force of gravity on the pelvic floor causes additional work on the pelvic floor, both in absorbing force and coordinating a muscle group, and this can cause leakage,” Dr. Bonchore says.

To reduce the risk of leaking during squat hops, try the following:

  1. Inhale as you lower into a squat, keeping the ribs relatively stacked over the pelvis.
  2. Exhale as you go up the jump, and continue to exhale until you land.
  3. When you land, don’t stop abruptly and hit the floor, but “grab” down on the next squat.

Do not use kegels when doing squat jumps. “It is not necessary to do proper pelvic floor work in this activity,” says Dr. Bonchore.


Because of the rapid acceleration and the amount of muscle recruitment it takes and the need for oxygen, jogging It can lead to urination while running. “This is where the increased oxygen demand/cardiac effort causes a change in the breathing mechanisms (such as more mouth breathing and less O2 entering the lungs) and usually less favorable diaphragm breathing,” says Dr. Bonchore.

The increased hip flexion you need to get in proper sprint form also increases the risk due to a change in pelvic position, as does a quick push off the floor, which leads to more strength and work on the pelvic floor muscles.

However, jogging, running, and walking all to some degree have an effect on our pelvic floor and hips due to the effect our feet have on the ground. “They’re all connected. If your feet/ankles can’t do something, your pelvic floor and/or quadriceps have to compensate for that to try to achieve the goal/movement of what you’re trying to do,” says Dr. Bonchore. This compensation can also increase pressure on your pelvic floor.

Back Squat Bar

The need to have a barbell above the shoulders can cause the ribs to flare up (as if you were blowing your chest forward), which could increase intra-abdominal pressure and lead to poor pelvic floor pressure management and leakage.

With more weight, the risks also increase. Make sure to keep your breathing in shape to reduce leakage as best as possible. With each squat, inhale on the way down, then exhale on the way up. “In general, you want your feet to be about hip-width apart and parallel, and it’s okay to let your knees drift over your toes,” says Dr. Bonchore.

Really, any major weightlifting movement like this can increase the risk of leakage because it requires more work from the core and pelvic floor and increases intra-abdominal pressure.

jumping cranes

else plyometric Jumping can cause leakage due to the increased force of gravity plus the added bonus of both abduction of the hips (the legs move to the sides and causes the pelvic floor to lengthen) and speed of movement. “All of these things put more effort on the pelvic floor, and if your pelvic muscles can’t handle that, it causes leakage,” says Dr. Bonchore.

You can try not to open the legs wide, or work with your breath until the jump is timed with your exhale, she says. “Or just slow it down to improve the reaction time of the pelvic floor muscles,” she adds.

So how can you avoid urinating during exercise?

If you find leakage to be a problem, consider using lighter weights so you can better control your core. “Reducing weight reduces the amount of effort and work required by your heart and pelvic floor in general, which makes it easier,” says Dr. Bonchore.

Diaphragmatic breathing during training can also make a big difference. “Diaphragmatic breathing is key to proper pressure management, and promotes the appropriate range of pelvic floor movement, which we need for good basic function,” she explains.

Heres how to do it:

  1. Inhale through your nose, while the rib cage is moving laterally, for about two to four seconds.
  2. Exhale through your mouth (as if you were blowing through a straw) for at least twice the length of your inhale, about four to eight seconds.

Prioritizing core work — including the pelvic floor, which makes up the lower part of the heart — can help you build the strength to work properly. “The primary task is to compress (also known as immobilizing) your torso so that your limbs can move away from a sturdy base,” says Dr. Bonchore. “So anything that causes a pressure turbulence or mismatch can cause a leak.”

what about Kegel? Kegels are pelvic floor muscle contraction, which basically means maintaining tension in the muscles. While Dr. Bonchore says that kegels can be important, she feels they are being overemphasized and seen as Just Treating pelvic floor problems. “In fact, I rarely tell people to deal with their PF issues,” she says. Kegels can backfire if you don’t do them properly, or if you think they are the only solution available, so you will never find a real solution.

How do you properly activate your pelvic floor? Find out – and continue – here:

One product that may provide temporary relief is a pessary, which is an artificial device inserted into the vaginal canal to help with urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Basically, it looks like a tampon.

There are over-the-counter brands like revive or Poise Impressawhich looks kind of like a tampon, or can be fitted specifically to one by healthcare professionals,” Dr. Bonchore says. “It’s not something I recommend as often as I like to exhaust other options first.”

Before investing in any product, Dr. Bonchore says your best bet is to get a pelvic floor evaluation from a PT. They will be able to recommend the right solution for you.

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