Tips For Avoiding A Sedentary Lifestyle

Tips For Avoiding A Sedentary Lifestyle

Today’s modern world moves faster than ever. And while technology has us moving at a breakneck speed in most areas of life, being active is unfortunately not one of them.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) showed that only 23% of adults between 18 and 64 are getting the recommended amount of exercise. That’s bad news since lack of exercise can lead to lots of problems, including the development of chronic diseases, like diabetes, and cognitive delcline. In addition, a more sedentary lifestyle may lead to obesity, a condition that can contribute to incontinence (among many other things). 

What’s the recommended amount of movement you should be aiming for? Experts say that most people should try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. It’s also recommended to add in muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.

The good news is it’s never too late to start. And adding in those workouts may be easier than you think. 


Here are our 7 best ways to sneak more movement into your day:


1. Break up your workouts into chunks.

For starters, don’t feel like you have to do all your working out at once. Even breaking up your workouts into small 10-minute chunks throughout the day counts.  Have a few minutes before your next conference call? Take a walk around the block, or try going up and down the stairs a few times. Running errands? Park your car in the furthest spot from the door to force yourself to walk even just a few more steps. Waiting for the microwave to heat up your dinner? Do 30-60 second bursts of squats or pushups. These activities may not seem like much on their own, but when you add them all up they can really make a difference.

 

2. Start a walking group.

Walking is one of the best low-impact workouts you can do. It’s easy, since you can do it pretty much anywhere, and you don’t really need any equipment – just grab your sneakers and get started. What’s more, walking with a buddy keeps you more engaged throughout the exercise and will make your “workout” as easy as catching up with a friend. (Plus, you’ll get the emotional boost of some good social interaction!). Click here for tips on how to set up a walking group.

 

3. Find an active hobby you love.

Going to the gym not your thing? You don’t have to commit to a grueling workout that you hate. Try something different! Take up a tennis class, try your hand at golfing, or invest in a new bike. There are no hard rules for how you get your workout in, just find a way to move. Bonus:  if you love doing it, you’ll be more inclined to continue.

 

4. Try an alternative workout.

Maybe you’re bored with your normal gym. Or you’re starting to feel unchallenged or unmotivated by what you’ve been doing. There are tons of new gyms out there that focus on new types of workout. Orange Theory, CorePower Yoga, Barre Workouts, Crossfit, Boxing Gyms, or even Dance Centers (tap dancing anyone?) are all different types of workouts that you might consider trying.  Do a google search for what exists in your area and give one of them a call. Many of these gyms offer a free trial period so that you’re able to check it out a few times before committing.


5. Think outside the box.

Try thinking of alternatives to your normal routine in order to work in more exercise. Do you have a standing meeting with a colleague at work? Try turning it into a walking meeting and talk while you walk. Do you live close enough to walk or bike to the grocery store? Make it a habit to schedule that into your weekly routine. Feel like you just really cant squeeze anything in? Try waking up 10 minute early in the morning to fit in a few rounds of weight-bearing exercises or to take a quick walk around the block.


6. Work up to it.

It may feel daunting to jump straight into a workout routine if you’re not used to it. But you don’t have to do it all at once. Start slowly with just a few minutes per day, then work up to more time as you’re able to.  Giving your body (and, let’s face it, your mind) time to catch on may make a regular workout routine easier to stick to.

 

7. Make it a family (or friend) affair.

Working out with a group can be motivating since you’re held more accountable than if you’re just on your own. Try getting your family involved by scheduling in regular family activities.  Start taking a nightly walk after dinner with the kids. Go for hikes on the weekends. Bike to the park and get in a good jungle gym workout. Get a group of friends together to try a new workout class or gym. The best part? By getting your loved ones involved, you’ll be helping each other live a healthier life. And if you have kids, you’ll be instilling in them the importance of exercise and staying fit – something that will hopefully stay with them their whole life.

Finding a workout you can commit to will do more than help you lose weight. Staying active may help prevent chronic conditions, will give you more energy, increase your muscle tone, and help your stability, which can be especially important as you age. And, you’ll be helping your mind stay sharp while also staving off mental conditions like depression.  We’d call those pretty good reasons to make working out a priority.

So get moving! Start small (anything is better than nothing!) and use some of the tips listed above to sneak in extra movement to your day.

(Note: It’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine. Need help finding a specialist? Click here to use our specialist locator tool!)

 

Gender Neutral Pelvic Floor Tips

Gender Neutral Pelvic Floor Tips

Simply stated - the pelvic floor isn’t just a female thing - it is a muscular sling supporting the pelvic and abdominal organs of men and women.  The pelvic floor helps keep us dry.  More than 50 percent of men over the age of 60 experience bladder control issues due to an enlarged prostate.  

Before I share my best pelvic floor tips for both sexes, we need to agree on the following three truths: strengthening a weak pelvic floor may improve bladder control and confidence, utilizing my tips in conjunction with seeing your healthcare provider will create the most optimal effect, and it’s important to allow yourself to have a bad day here and there.  

Here are my best pelvic floor tips.

Start a Bladder or Bowel Diary

For a week, keep track of your trips to the bathroom, your leaks and how much and what you are drinking. Note any trends with fluid intake, time of day and activity level in relation to using the bathroom and your leaks. Your documentation may help your health care provider order tests, make a more accurate diagnosis or prompt a referral to a specialist.But, please consider what you can do with the information. Are there any trends you are seeing? Do you have more problems in the morning, afternoon or evening? Do you need to space out your fluid intake?  ou may be able to cue into changes that may positively impact your bladder control and confidence.  

Drink more water and consider cutting down on alcohol and caffeine

Many newly incontinent persons incorrectly assume if there is less water in the system there will be less water to pass. Cutting out water, or significantly decreasing water consumption, while continuing to consume alcohol and caffeine at normal previous levels may aggravate the bladder and make the leakage problems worse.  Hydration with plain, old water is one of the keys to improved bladder function.  And, revisit your diary – it may be possible that alcohol or caffeine may be a trigger to your leakage pattern.  Do you need notice you have more problems with bladder control after a glass or two of coffee or your favorite cocktail?  

Kegels

Yes – we need to talk about this.  Men can do Kegels and should do Kegels to improve bladder control.  Kegels are not just meant for women.  Repetitively performing Kegels will improve pelvic floor muscle function, strength and endurance.  Kegels should be a habit like brushing your teeth. The truth of the matter is - if your pelvic floor muscles are in better space they will be better able to support you and keep you dry.  Here are some cues that may help you or your loved one perform a Kegel.   

 Return to the idea that pelvic floor is a muscular sling.  It supports your abdominal and pelvic organs kind of like a hammock running along the base of pelvis – front to back and side to side.

  • Gently pull the pelvic floor up and in towards your navel as if trying to protect yourself from a blow to the belly. When you do this – you may feel a gentle tightening of the muscles underneath your navel. Your tailbone may gently rises up and in. Continue your normal breath. Keep in mind, the Kegel, I am recommending is not 100% effort but a gentle tightening of the muscular sling.

  • Continue breathing and hold the Kegel for a few seconds. Then gradually relax. Repeat until you’re fatigued or have completed your goal.

That concludes my list of my best pelvic floor tips. What are your best practices?

About the Author, Michelle Herbst: I am a wife and mother with a passion of helping women live to their fullest potential. I am a women’s health physical therapist and for nearly decade have helped women with musculoskeletal conditions during their pregnancies, postpartum period and into their golden years.

About the Author, Michelle Herbst: I am a wife and mother with a passion of helping women live to their fullest potential. I am a women’s health physical therapist and for nearly decade have helped women with musculoskeletal conditions during their pregnancies, postpartum period and into their golden years.

3 FREE Workout Apps To Help Get You Back On Track

3 Free Workout Apps

Getting into a workout habit can be difficult.  These apps make it easier. For the person who is short on time, looking for a way to count calorie-intake, or in need of some new moves, read below. This post is for you.

3 Free Workout Apps To Get You Back On Track

Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout

Don’t think you have time for a workout? The Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout app gives you a great workout in just – you guessed it – 7 minutes. You’ll be able to choose your skill level, create custom workouts, and log your workouts so that you can see your progress over time. As a bonus, the app allows you to workout to your own music. No more excuses.

MyFitnessPal

This app allows you to track calorie intake by recording what and how much you eat. MyFitnessPal boasts a database of over 5,000,000 foods (and nutrition info) that can be entered and you can even scan barcodes to learn the nutritional value for a specific food. The app also allows you to track activity, with estimated caloric burn, so that you can track your overall daily intake and shed those pesky pounds.

Nike+ Training Club

One of our favorites. Like the Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout App, this one allows you to choose your level. Workouts range from 15-45 minutes and provide great video and audio examples of each move, making it easy to know how to do them (especially if you are new to many of these.)  The app allows you to track your workouts and other activity you do outside of the app (yoga, basketball, etc.). Plus, the more you use it, the more personalized your workout recommendations become. 

Pool Time Can Be Pelvic Floor Time

You know pool time and summer time go together like peanut butter and jelly.  But did you know that having a weak pelvic floor doesn’t mean you need to be left out of this summer tradition? I’m here to challenge that lie you’ve been hearing.

But, first a little physics lesson. When you are in the pool, your weight presses down into the water. The water presses back on you. You are lighter than the water you have displaced. You float. You are buoyant. Buoyancy is your friend.  

So, what does this have to do with the pelvic floor? And, a weak pelvic floor at that?

Being in the pool, diminishes the effect of gravity on the pelvic floor muscles. Additionally, the internal organs ‘float’ taking more pressure off weak pelvic floor muscles. Experiencing the diminishing effects of gravity on your pelvic floor will make it easier to contract and relax weak pelvic floor muscles. Your summer time pool time is a great opportunity to learn what an engaged or relaxed pelvic floor feels like. Additionally, you may experience success in the water that you do not normally experience on land with pelvic floor contractions and lifts. For some people, the buoyancy effect gives people the freedom to do exercises in the water that would normally cause leakage on land such a walking, jumping or running.  

Now you’re probably asking how you can make this work for you?

Plan ahead and be proactive with what you might need in the pool. It sounds silly, but if being in the pool is a nerve wracking experience, making sure you have nothing hindering you.

Here are my five tips for getting in the pool:

  1. Void prior to getting into the pool. Emptying the bladder will take the pressure of you and your pelvic floor.

  2. Get over yourself. No is watching what you are doing. You will be OK.

  3. Enter the pool slowly. If you plunge right in - the pelvic floor reflexively tightens protecting you from leaking.

  4. You do not need to have equipment. Your exercise plan may simply include focusing on contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor, varying your hold times and trying to hold the pelvic floor contraction for longer periods of time.

  5. Think beyond the pool side. You can walk in chest height water to challenge the pelvic floor too. Or, maybe take a few laps for the fun of it.

Pool time CAN BE pelvic floor time. Now, go and enjoy yourself!

About the Author, Michelle Herbst

I am a wife and mother with a passion of helping women live to their fullest potential.  I am a women’s health physical therapist and for nearly decade have helped women with musculoskeletal conditions during their pregnancies, postpartum period and into their golden years.

Integrate Kegels Into Your Daily Workout Warmup

Integrate kegels into your workout warmup

Going from zero to 60mph is great for your new two-seater racing car, but not for your muscles. It’s important to slowly gain speed in your workout routine, making your warm up routine a prime time to work your pelvic floor.

Strengthening your pelvic floor will help restore muscle function and lessen the symptoms of incontinence. Kegels are the primary pelvic floor exercise.

Whether you’re jogging, running, hiking, biking, or playing a contact sport, warming up is crucial to your exercise plan, so why not incorporate kegel training into your daily routine to help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles?

Here are a few suggestions for including kegels in your warm up routine:

  • Walk for 3-5 minutes at a steady pace. Take a break at a corner on your block or a turn on a trail and do 10 pelvic floor holds.

  • Do 10 lunges and 10 wall-sits for three reps. Between rotations, practice 5 kegels.

  • Practice a forward fold to stretch your hamstrings and back. Hold the fold 10-15 seconds, then stand and hold a kegel for 5-10 seconds. Repeat for 2-3 times.

  • Do jumping jacks or jump rope for 30-second intervals. Between each interval, practice 10 kegels.

Both men and women have pelvic floor muscles and both men and women experience a lack in pelvic floor strength as they age. Learn more about the importance of working your pelvic floor here. And find instructions on how to properly kegel, or lift your pelvic floor, here.  It is important to remember to let your muscles relax between contractions and to work all the muscles of your core to ensure optimal pelvic floor strength.  If you are unsure of the exercises that would work best for you, finding a physical therapist specialized in pelvic floor strengthening can be very helpful in creating a routine.

If you are looking for more ways to warm up before your work outs, we suggest heading over to workoutlabs.com. You can make your own printable full-body warm up graphic so you always have examples at hand. Print your own sheet out and add kegels wherever you feel most comfortable.

See our favorite full body warm up rotation below. Click here to make your own

What’s stopping you from ____________ ?

Motivation To Live The Life You Want

We all have things in life that serve as obstacles. Those obstacles could be emotional, relational, career-oriented, or for many, a struggle with incontinence. 

We don’t believe it’s right to let anything stop us from living out our dreams.  We’re all human and we all have different challenges. Incontinence is just one of many things you may have on your list of challenges.

Below, you’ll find a downloadable PDF to help you identify what you want in life, whether it’s as simple as drinking more water or spending more time with family, or building a treatment plan to manage your incontinence with your doctor.  We believe in staying accountable to our goals—especially when it comes to managing our bladder health.

Use the graphic to help you identify your goals. Circle the things you’re looking to achieve and make note of what’s stopping you. Share your thoughts in the comments below!

It's All About The Base: Learning How To Work Out Your Pelvic Floor

It's All About The Base

We all have health goals. They are often about being more health conscious and physically active.  I’ve heard varying goals from “I want to lose 15 pounds” to “I want to be able to run my first marathon,” but rarely do I hear “I want a stronger pelvic floor” or “I want to be able to jump or exercise without leaking urine every time.” In fact, most people don’t even know about these muscles and how essential a strong pelvic floor is for everyday function.  

The pelvic floor is an amazing set of muscles that span inside your pelvis, from your pubic bones to your tailbone, that act as the base of your core.  They work to control your bladder and bowel and maintain continence, allow for pain-free and enjoyable intercourse, hold up the pelvic organs and help stabilize the pelvic girdle and spine…that’s a lot of responsibility for muscles that are often neglected in the daily workout plan.

As a pelvic floor specialist, I am often asked “How do I work out my pelvic floor?”  The fact is, most people don’t know how to turn on their muscles the RIGHT way.  They are often trying so hard to squeeze as tight as possible that they are engaging everything but their pelvic floor! They will hold their breath, clench their butt, squeeze their inner thighs, tighten up their abdominals and totally miss the boat. 

A pelvic floor contraction, or Kegel, is a very subtle feeling.  It includes a compression and lifting of the muscles deep inside the pelvis, like you are trying to suck a marble up with your vagina or lift your testicles in fear of walking into ice cold water!  Too frank? Well then imagine that you are stopping the flow of urine, which is actually a good test to see if you are engaging the RIGHT muscles.  You can always tighten your pelvic floor mid-stream and see if you can stop, or at least slow down the flow, but this should just be a test, and never a means to actually exercise these muscles.

Although the pelvic floor is the star of this article, you have to also understand that these muscles don’t work in isolation.  Remember that the pelvic floor is the BASE of the core, but also works with other muscles as an integrated system.  The major supporter of the pelvic floor is the diaphragm, which is the dome-shaped muscle at the bottom of the rib cage that is essential for breathing. 

When you take a deep breath in through your nose, your rib cage expands and the diaphragm moves downwards, changing the pressure system in your abdomen so your pelvic floor muscles RELAX.  As you exhale through your mouth, the diaphragm moves upwards, and again, the intra-abdominal pressure is changed, and the pelvic floor returns to its resting position.  Wow! Who knew that just practicing breathing could also be working the pelvic floor!

If you want to get fancy, you can coordinate the two muscle groups together:  

Start lying on your back with your knees bent.  Place each hand on the side of your rib cage. Inhale deeply through your nose, imagining your rib cage is expanding in all directions into your hands, and keep your pelvic floor relaxed.  As you exhale through your mouth, let your rib cage return to resting position and gently tighten your pelvic floor muscles and hold for up to five seconds, then release.  Repeat this sequence for a good 5-10 minutes each day…it’s more about the quality of the breathing and pelvic floor contractions, not just the quantity.  (If you are a numbers kind of person, then try to shoot for 30-50 contractions a day.)

It is essential that you allow for the relaxing aspect of this exercise.  Like any other muscle in the body, we need to make sure the pelvic floor is able to go through its entire range of motion, which means it should be able to tighten, and then release or relax, so it can be able to contract again.  Remember that these muscles are working 100% of the time, and in order to maintain a strong pelvic floor, you need to let these muscles RELAX in between each contraction

 As you feel more comfortable with this exercise, try it sitting or standing, so you can start working out your pelvic floor throughout the day. The beauty of exercising your base is that no one even knows you are doing it!  You can be standing in line at the grocery store or sitting in your car, waiting for the light to turn green, and BAM!  You are working your base out!  Even better, think about integrating your pelvic floor and diaphragm into your gym routine, especially lifting weights or doing other core work.

I dare you to start thinking about exercising all aspects of your core, especially your pelvic floor.  Remember, it’s all about the base!

Victoria Yeisley, DPT, has been specializing in pelvic floor physical therapy since 2008.  She completed her Doctor of Physical Therapy at Boston University and currently works with Northwestern Medical Group in Chicago, IL, where she is integrated as a part of the OB-GYN team.  Victoria’s passion lies in empowering her patients to not only be educated about their pelvic floor, but to gain control over their symptoms.  She feels extremely lucky to be able to practice her passion every day and hopes to be able to continue to promote pelvic floor muscle awareness for all!