ABOUT THE 5 HEALTHY HABITS
During World Continence Week (15-22 June 2020), the Continence Foundation of Australia encouraged older Australians to invest time in 5 healthy habits to help prevent incontinence. These habits include a healthy diet and staying hydrated, 30 minutes of exercise every day and good toilet habits.
Habit 1 – Stay Active
Physical 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.
Habit 2 – Eat Well
Fibre 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.
Habit 3 – Get enough fluids and drink well
It’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.
Habit 4 – Exercise your pelvic floor
Having 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.
Habit 5 – Practice good toilet habits
Don'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).