Can Regular Exercise Improve Bladder Control

If you are living with urinary incontinence, your doctor might have mentioned the benefit of regular exercise. You might have even started doing physical therapy. In it, you might learn how to do Kegel exercises, which target the pelvic floor muscles that need strengthening. Try some Kegel ball exercises and see how they work for you.

Types of Exercises To Try

You can try several exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles once you’ve located where they are inside your body. These are easy to do from the privacy of your home and might even be things your physical therapist will suggest.

If you are wondering: “What is pelvic floor therapy?” then know that it is a type of therapy that specifically targets your pelvic floor muscles. These can be weakened for a number of reasons, and working with a PT can help strengthen these muscles and improve your bladder control.

Sitting Slow-Twitch Exercise

The sitting slow-twitch exercise targets your slow-twitch pelvic muscles that support your lowermost organs and can retain urine when strengthened. Here’s how to do this exercise:

Step 1. Sit down in a chair of your preference and draw your attention to your pelvic floor muscles.

Step 2: Tighten those pelvic muscles as though you are trying to avoid passing gas.

Step 3: Hold this position for about 10 seconds, then relax your muscles.

Do this in sets of 10, ideally three times per day.

Sitting Fast-Twitch Exercise

The sitting fast-twitch exercise is similar to the sitting slow-twitch exercise, except it targets your fast-twitch pelvic floor muscles. These muscles tend to be quick to respond and can prevent stress incontinence when strengthened. Follow these steps:

Step 1. Sit in a chair and focus on your pelvic floor muscles.

Step 2. Clench these muscles as though you are squeezing something that is in there.

Step 3. Quickly release this pose — do not hold it.

Again, try to do these in sets of 10, three times per day for an optimal effect.

Standing Kegel Exercise

Kegels can be done either sitting or lying down, and both types have their benefits. If you tend to have urinary incontinence while standing up, try doing your Kegels when you are standing.

Step 1. Stand up straight and focus on your pelvic floor muscles.

Step 2. Squeeze your pelvic floor muscles up, then draw them in. It is okay if you notice any tension in your buttocks or thighs since it is totally normal. You should not feel any tension in your abdominal area.

Step 3. Squeeze and hold for 10 seconds, then release and relax.

Aim to do this exercise in sets of 10 reps three times each day.

Horizontal Kegel Exercise

If your urinary incontinence happens more when lying down, you might want to do horizontal Kegels to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. It is just as good a way to build strength as standing up.

Step 1. Lie flat on any stable surface, and you can bend your knees, putting your legs at a comfortable angle. Put both hands palm down on your stomach.

Step 2. Squeeze your pelvic muscles. You should not notice any change to the abdominal area beneath your hands.

Step 3. Hold that pelvic muscle squeeze for 10 seconds, then release and relax the muscles.

Again, try doing this in 10 reps per set, three times per day.

Safely Practicing Kegels

It is important that you safely practice your Kegels every day. It would help if you are not clenching your pelvic floor muscles at all times since this will do more harm than good. Squeezing strengthens the muscles, not training them to stay squeezed.

If you have overly-tight pelvic floor muscles, this could make your urinary incontinence worse. If you feel too much tension in your pelvic floor, you should consult your doctor or physical therapist. Your Kegels should not cause any pain, but if they do, immediately stop doing them and contact your doctor or PT.

Bladder Training

Bladder training isn’t an exercise but can help improve your bladder control. This teaches you to hold more urine before you empty your bladder. The goal is to stretch out your time between bathroom visits.

How often do you urinate in one day? This is your baseline. You’ll be waiting as long as possible to use the bathroom, even though it can certainly feel uncomfortable.


Biofeedback is something your doctor can do to help you enhance your Kegels. Your doctor uses electrodes placed on your skin to measure biological activity. This is then used to help you train your body to perform, forming a mind-body connection in your therapy.

Yoga for Pelvic Floor Strengthening

Yoga practitioners have found that certain exercises can strengthen pelvic floor muscles and improve bladder control. Chair pose (utkatasana), triangle pose (trikonasana) and squat pose (malasana) are three of the most effective yoga poses for pelvic floor strengthening. Practicing them even a few times a week can help you build strength and improve control.


Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles via pelvic floor exercises can improve urinary incontinence. You might find yourself running to the bathroom less and enjoying your everyday life a lot more. Just remember that staying consistent with your pelvic floor exercises is important in improving your bladder control.

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