Maybe you attempted Kegel exercises during or after pregnancy to tighten things up, but not doing them regularly can set you up for urinary incontinence later in life. If you had incontinence then, it’s more likely to strike again when you’re older, says Peterson. According to a University of Washington survey, urinary incontinence affects more than 40 percent of women in their forties and almost half of all women over age 50. The problem occurs when the muscles in the pelvic area become weaker (due to such issues as pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, or excessive weight), which can lead to urine leaks when you exercise, cough, or laugh. Kegels strengthen those weak muscles and prevent or improve symptoms. Need a refresher? Imagine you’re going to the bathroom, then squeeze as though you’re trying to stop the flow. Aim to do three sets of 12 to 15 a day.