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Can fitness help your bladder?

Your peeing habits may not be on the top of the conversation list. So what happens when you are having a problem – the kind where you know something is wrong?

Christine Cornell, fitness instructor and Total ControlTM coach at the Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center, located on the campus of Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital, wants to throw the stigma on bladder control out the door.

“If you are having out-of-the-ordinary issues with your bladder, talk to your doctor, but also consider adding strength exercises into your daily routine,” Cornell says.

Cornell works with clients at the Wellness Center to not only provide education but also teach a fitness class to help urinary incontinence, called Total Control. The class is a pelvic wellness program by the Women’s Health Foundation. It focuses on exercises to strengthen pelvic floor and core muscles in the abdomen and back.

“Many people don’t realize that exercise can improve bladder issues,” Cornell says.

Some of the exercises include belly muscle and pelvic lifting and squeezing; and back strengthening through stretching and core muscle building. These exercises can be done on a flat surface lying on your back. Using your pelvic muscles, lifting your hips up and down will build the strength you need to help you better control sudden urges to pee.

Know your normal urinary patterns

According to the WHF, some type of urinary incontinence affects more than 33 million men and women in the U.S.

“There is an increase risk for men if they have had prostate surgery or have diabetes,” Cornell says. “For women, factors like pregnancy, our structure and even hereditary reasons play a big part.”

It’s important for people to learn more about their urinary incontinence so they can talk about it and ask the right questions to their doctor, Cornell says.

“We don’t want people to be fearful of leaving the house, going for a walk or spending an evening out with friends because of their urinary issues,” Cornell says. “We want to give them hope that they can get their daily life back.”

Dr. Robert M. Pasciak, urologist on staff at Good Samaritan Hospital says that everyone is aware of what is normal for them: “In particular, when there is urine leakage and any change in your usual urinary pattern, you should be concerned and seek medical attention.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a physician on staff at Good Samaritan Hospital, call 1.800.3.ADVOCATE (1.800.323.8622) or visit

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