How to dress for exercising when wearing incontinence pads?
You want to stay fit and healthy but you’re worried those pads will get in the way? What dress options are there to help keep pads discreetly in place when exercising? Also, what type of pads will make you feel as comfortable as possible?
The challenge of concealing a continence pad in form-fitting exercise gear can take the enjoyment out of exercise. It may even be putting you off altogether.
Being active, however, is an important part of managing incontinence(1), with benefits that include lower stress levels and stronger pelvic floor muscles. Not only that, an active lifestyle is good for overall health and fitness.
Having continence problems doesn’t have to mean the end of your exercise routine. The key to preventing embarrassing leaks is planning, and the place to start is your wardrobe.
A proper choice of clothes
First of all, choose clothing that your choice of continence pad and level of activity. Slimmer pads are easier to conceal than thicker ones and strenuous exercise is likely to lead to more leakage than low-impact activities such as yoga.
Wearing your normal underwear or pull-up pants will help to hold the pad in place and provide added absorbency. Advanced continence technology and design means you can now buy pads and pants that are specially designed for active men and women, like MoliCare Premium lady or MoliCare Premium MEN.
Layers are great for disguising thicker pads or pull-up pants. Take your fashion cues from competitive sportspeople who often wear baggy shorts or sweatpants over tights or leggings when training. As well as being practical, this style will make you look like a pro!
Fabrics do matter
When it comes to fabrics, clothing that contains plastic or latex is not the best choice as these materials are not leak-resistant and do not breathe well, so they can be unhygienic. By contrast, specialist sportswear is designed for athletes who sweat a lot, so it's made of breathable fabric that wicks up moisture and will keep you fresh. Some brands even have a light pad sewn into the crotch to absorb fluids. These garments can be expensive but are a good investment if you exercise regularly, and people of all ages and athletic abilities can wear them.
Colour makes a difference too. Darker colours like black, grey and navy are the best option because if you experience a leak, it will be harder to see. White and other light colours are far less forgiving.
Get prepared before each session
Experiment with different absorption levels of your pad to see what works best for the time of exercise. With activities that are strenuous or involve bearing down, the likelihood of a leak is higher and you may have to wear a thicker pad than usual.
Ensure you empty your bladder prior to exercising, and again as soon as you finish your session.
Once you have chosen your exercise outfit, try it on in front of a mirror and move around to make sure your pad isn’t visible. Then pack a spare pad and a change of clothes just in case, and head out of the door with confidence.
It can be upsetting to have to think so hard about exercise wear, especially if you have always been active. However, more than one in 10 men and one in three women in Australia(2) have continence problems so you are probably not the only person at your gym session, yoga class or walking group who has to actively think about managing their continence.
If you would like more information about integrating incontinence products into an active lifestyle and finding the suitable one for you, please visit MoliCare.
 Hawthorne G. Measuring Incontinence in Australia. Commonwealth of Australia; 2006.