The Continence Foundation of Australia encourages older Australians to invest time in 5 healthy habits to help prevent incontinence. These 5 healthy habits are important for bladder and bowel health.

These habits include a healthy diet and staying hydrated, 30 minutes of exercise every day and good toilet habits. 

Habit 1 – Stay Active

Healthy Habit 1 - Stay ActivePhysical activity is beneficial for overall health – and that includes bladder and bowel function!  Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. This doesn’t have to be all at once. Activities like gardening, cleaning, playing with the grandkids, and taking the stairs all add up.

Making a move in the right direction, not matter how small, can make a big difference.

Habit 2 – Eat Well

Healthy Habit 2: Eat WellFibre in your diet will help improve bowel function and avoid constipation. Fibre is found in foods such as multi grain or whole grain breads, cereal products, fruit, vegetables, legumes, and nuts and seeds. Aim to eat two servings of fruit, five servings of vegetables and five servings of cereals and breads each day.

You are what you eat, and eating well can make a world of difference to how we feel and how our bodies operate.

Habit 3 – Get enough fluids and drink well

Healthy Habit 3 - Drink SmartIt’s important to increase fluids when you increase fibre in your diet. Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated helps maintain digestive health. Drinks that contain caffeine, cola and alcohol can irritate your bladder, so water is the best choice.

While our tendency when dealing with bladder and bowel problems might be to restrict our liquid intake, this is actually the opposite of what we should do.

Habit 4 – Exercise your pelvic floor

Healthy Habit 4 - Pelvic FloorHaving a strong pelvic floor is your insurance against incontinence. You can train your pelvic floor anytime, anywhere, no matter what sex, gender, age or fitness level you are. 

Try to do your pelvic floor muscles exercises every day, three times a day. See a continence health professional to learn how. 

Making a move in the right direction, not matter how small, can make a big difference.

Habit 5 – Practice good toilet habits

Healthy Habit 5 - Good Toilet HabitsDon't get into the habit of going to the toilet 'just in case’. If you keep emptying your bladder 'just in case' too often, then the bladder may never fill up properly, and shrink a bit. This may give the feeling of needing to go to the toilet more frequently (urge incontinence).

Surprisingly, there are a few things you can do to make your visit to the toilet as effective as possible.  Try these today.

Good toilet habits – the nuts and bolts of bowel and bladder health

This webinar explores what ‘good toilet habits’ are, and why they are so important.  We explore the optimal toileting routine and how your toileting routine can be altered to make things easier for you. Easier and more effective toileting better ensures ongoing continence, which in turn allows you to live independently for longer.

Presenter: Ann Hudson, Manager Health Promotion at the Continence Foundation of Australia

Guest speaker: Merrill McPhee, Helpline Continence Nurse Advisor


Last Updated: Mon 22, Apr 2024
Last Reviewed: Thu 23, Apr 2020