To improve confidence and reduce anxiety, a little exercise goes a long way — even if you don’t. (Har de har, though true that even modest activity such as a short walk greatly enhances confidence). Click to learn more about Alexandra’s personal story gaining confidence in her post, Incontinence, Confidence, Group Exercise, and Big-Headed Babies.
But what if your movement anxiety is high because you have incontinence or an overactive bladder? What if exercise causes frequent urination? Nothing like the worry about leakage to thwart confidence and stall workout motivation. And you know we nag, cajole, motivate, advise, and promote working out. It’s our blog’s raison d’être.
Readers like you and our fitness class participants sometimes ask us how to deal with exercise-induced bladder leakage. They also question how we are able to teach so confidently — on stage, with eyes staring at our backside, mirrors and lights highlighting us — knowing we also suffer from leaks ourselves now and then. Therefore we put together the following list of tips to answer both questions: how to be confident and how to exercise confidently with an overactive bladder or light bladder leakage.
Not only does exercise itself improve self-esteem, self-efficacy, and overall confidence, but also it often gets you sweaty. Who knows whether that’s sweat or urine or both making your leggings wet? Sweat – the ultimate leak disguise. This is the double whammy bonus big time tip as ANY exercise has a huge positive effect on self-confidence.
Wear dark workout gear. Heck, we haven’t worn white tights or yoga pants for three decades anyway. Have you? And (here comes the sponsored post disclosure. Poise Impressa has compensated us to share about their new sizing kit) — do check out their bladder support product. I don’t know about you, but I was glad to say good-bye to pads and liners post-menopause. Take a quick trip to Walmart to get their Poise Impressa Sizing Kit. It’s an internal product designed to stop leaks before they happen.
One of my (Alexandra) favorite songs is by the Tedeschi Trucks Band – Do I Look Worried. Mostly because the song is fantastic, but also because it dovetails with an expression we have in the counseling world, “Fake it Till you Make it.” It’s true – one way to manage stress and anxiety is to have a chat with yourself. “Once this issue is resolved, how will I feel?” Then you decide to feel that way in the moment rather than waiting for the resolution. You can also choose a specific time of day for all your worries. As soon as you find yourself stressing out, tell yourself to save it for the official stress time. At the designated time, bring your stressors to mind, then deliberately stop at the end of the set time. Another trick is to clench your fist as tightly as possible and count to 5. Then relax the fist and count to 5. It’s physiologically impossible to be simultaneously stressed and relaxed. So you trick your body. Deep breathing works too (which is different than heavy breathing for those of us who drool over Colin Firth).It's physiologically impossible to be simultaneously stressed and relaxed. #trustimpressa… Click To Tweet
First, take a look at this 15 second video showing activities we enjoy.
(If the video isn’t showing, click this link: Activities Alexandra and Kymberly enjoy: Trust Impressa)
Generally people enjoy those activities they are good at. Improving a skill boosts confidence. Even if you suckity wuckity at something you enjoy (that would be Kymberly steering a kayak or Alexandra at nothing – [ha ha, Kymberly left a blank spot here for me to fill out, but I do not “suckity wuckity” at anything as that’s a phrase I do not use]), you will still be more confident AND have the freedom to go for it leak-free. Movement freedom, release from anxiety, and having fun = winning combo!
Once you get out there (there = gym, club, park trails, your neighborhood), you’ll find women like you who value movement, exercise, and an active life. Being with others of similar values — exercise. in this case — improves confidence and self-perception. You’ll also discover how many other women deal with pants’ peeing. This is a chance to talk with gal pals and minimize the taboos around this issue. You are not alone in your mid-workout leg crossing . I can hear the new chant now: “Free the Pee! Free the Pee!” Or not…
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by Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA with subtle contributions here and there from Alexandra Williams, MA
Kymberly: What if you wanted to age as actively as possible, but had to curtail your activities because of …. well for a myriad of reasons. For instance, both Alexandra and I have knee arthritis that affects our workout and recreation choices. Many women over 50 have chronic pain or medical issues that curtail their ability to live life to the extent they desire. Odds are you are in that group. And urinary incontinence is another condition that may cause you to discontinue or never take up certain activities. Nothing like fear of leakage and embarrassment to affect confidence and freedom, right?
If my knees suddenly were arthritis-free, I’d play soccer again, run with my dogs, and add plyometric moves back to my step class choreography. Also, I’d be ready to train hard when Dancing With the Stars calls to have my twin sis and me be part of their next season. (Who agrees that a sibling theme would be great? Venus and Serena, the Olsen twins, the Property Brothers, us!) And if Alexandra didn’t have to worry about bladder leakage, she’d probably wear white tights. Maybe not. She likes colorful workout gear. And she’s hard to embarrass. Still, you get my point.
Yes, my main point is to wonder: What would you take up if you did not have to worry about urinary incontinence? Would you laugh more? Pick up a new sport? Restart a workout you once loved but gave up because of bladder leakage? Have you stopped an activity because it made you pee your pants? What if you could stop leaks before they happen? Would that make a difference in your midlife happily ever after?Has fear of embarrassment caused you to stop or never start a workout or exercise program? Click To Tweet
Disclosure Moment: This post is sponsored by Poise Impressa’s sizing kit
Alexandra: When we were asked to collaborate with Poise Impressa to learn and share about the sizing kit, I jumped (metaphorically only, for obvious reasons) at the chance, because I teach exercise and hike a lot and do NOT like having to worry about peeing my workout capris. Curse those big-headed boys I gave birth to for saddling me with a loose saddle. Mainly I was curious as to what exactly a sizing kit is.
On the way home from a trip to Carmel, I stopped at the Walmart in Arroyo Grande to get the kit. Ta da – right there in the “incontinence” section. Are you ever tempted to buy extra stuff just to cover up the embarrassing stuff in your shopping basket, or is that just me? In the end, I kind of thought, “What the heck. The only people who will stare at me are either women my age who understand, or young people who will find out one day.” I stopped to take selfies instead.When you laugh, jump, exercise, sneeze or jump do you pee your pants? #triedimpressa @Walmart Click To Tweet
I’ve now satisfied my curiosity. Right on the box it has a helpful chart (I almost said “flow chart.” Dang, so punny) – If you leak when you laugh, cough, sneeze, dance or exercise – Stress Urinary Incontinence – these bladder supports (’cause that’s what they are) should be right for you. If you have a sudden need to pee – Urge Urinary Incontinence – then these are NOT for you. The purpose of the kit is to help you figure out the right size before buying a whole package (which you can see costs $11.97). Essentially, it’s like a tampon. Start with size 1. If you still have drips and dabs, try size 2, then size 3 if necessary.
Look, it may be an embarrassing topic, but as someone teaching in front of hundreds of students every week, it’s less embarrassing to talk about the need for the bladder supports than it is to try and surreptitiously check my backside in the mirror every time I do a jumping jack or Burpee. Come to think of it, why the heck am I teaching Burpees? Burpees are very disrespectful, according to the lady in this hysterical video that you MUST watch.
I think I’ll go now and teach a nice, relaxing supine core move. Be impressed. And Impressa-ed.
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Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA
Look at Her Butt!
Who likes having people stare at your bottom? After years of teaching fitness on stage, under lights, with mirrors surrounding me, I am used to it. Stare away people. Not bad for a baby boomer butt, eh? Just agree please. It’s been an intense week.
What I am not used to is having people stare at me when in my exercise gear if it’s not my hiney that’s looking wet and shiny! Nothing like peeing my workout capris when hopping, skipping, or jumping. Well, actually I am more at risk when I laugh hard at my own jokes, especially since I have the mic! (For my sister’s funny take on all this, read either of her two related posts: Cross Your Legs, but Don’t Sneeze and Group Exercise and Big Headed Babies.)
Challenge On, but Pants Off?
Anyway, when I was asked to be part of the yoga pant challenge with Depend Active Fit, I agreed. I figured the biggest dilemma would be finding yoga pants, since I have a closet full of fitness tights, capris, pants, shorts, leggings, but yoga? Don’t teach that. Voila! Found my one, official pair. Challenge on!Enter the #yogapantchallenge with Depend Active Fit Here. Now @Walmart Click To Tweet
Then I came to the REAL challenge of this assignment. I’ll get to that in a minute. But first, let’s get through the nitty gritty benefits of the new incontinence undies designed specifically NOT to show or look like sumpin’ your granny had frumpin’ in her drawer — or drawers. (I did mention laughing at my own jokes, and this includes word plays). Gotta tell you people that the Active Fit briefs actually are smooth under clothes and comfortably thin. Just like we’re going to be after working out, right? I chose the beige product, but you can dress up and under in black.
[Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Acorn, an influence company, though the opinions are all mine. So are the yoga pants. I sponsor the dogs in these photos. They sponsor the dog walks.]
So there I am wanting to take part in the challenge (which you can too, by the way. Get free product, win a prize, stay dry). This means I need to get photos of my backside in workout gear where I am wearing the product in one shot and regular undies in another, similar shot. Then you are to guess which is with and which without. Of course I like to add a Boom Chicka Baby Boomer, woman-over-50 twist or what’s the fun?
I know. I’ll get photos outside. As in “public places where people might walk by. It’ll be fun, creative, unique.” “What’s the challenge” you wonder? It’s logistical. How do I go back and forth putting Depend underwear on, then off, then on, then off for each with/without pose? I am not exactly shy, but dropping my yoga drawers outdoors on the meadows and cliffs of Santa Barbara is actually beyond my comfort zone.
Allow me to share one more, little known secret about this product. When you want to remove the active fit briefs, you don’t have to strip down or do the Zoolander vs Hansel walk off (who knows what I’m referring to here?). Turns out the cotton-like material is so soft, you can tear the briefs along the seam and slide them out. Problem solved — sort of.No Yoga Pants Were Harmed in the Making of this Post Click To Tweet
Sure, I can simply reach in and discreetly tear them, pull them off with my pants intact, and have just regular undies for the next photo. Uh, and the last, as that still leaves the question of getting another pair of Depend back on. Or not….
Solution to this Ultra Challenge? I wore the briefs in all the poses except one – the last picture taken. And which one was that? Not obvious is it? And that’s the point.
Readers: What’s your guess? In which one am I sans Depend active fit briefs?
ACTION: Enter the giveaway. Subscribe to our site. Easy Peeeee-sy. Kymberly Williams-Evans