Lifestyle changes

There are a number of simple changes you can make to your lifestyle to ensure that your bladder and bowel are as healthy as possible.

Who is it for?

What does it involve?

There are a number of simple changes you can make to your diet and lifestyle in order to ensure that your bladder and bowel are as healthy as possible. Take a look at the two infographics below to find out more:

Bladder health: 

Support_In_Continence_Infographics_Bladder Incontinence 1
Limit your intake of caffeine, artificial sweeteners, fizzy drinks, juices and alcohol, as these can irritate the bladder, and drink just the right amount of fluid each day - that’s 6-8 glasses!
Try to go to the toilet every 3-4 hours, including just before going to bed.
Support_In_Continence_Infographics_Bladder Incontinence 3
Avoid putting extra pressure on the bladder by maintaining a healthy weight, and quit smoking, as nicotine is thought to have a negative effect on the muscles of the bladder wall.
Support_In_Continence_Infographics_Bladder Incontinence 4
Exercise regularly (try to do some light exercise every day of the week).

Bowel health:

Support_In_Continence_Infographics_Bowel Incontinence 1
Limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol and artificial sweeteners, as these can irritate the bowel, and drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.
Support_In_Continence_Infographics_Bowel Incontinence 2
Avoid very spicy or greasy foods, and choose foods that are high in fibre, such as fruits and vegetables.
Support_In_Continence_Infographics_Bowel Incontinence 3
Eat less and more often (smaller meals are easier to digest).
Support_In_Continence_Infographics_Bowel Incontinence 4
Get moving! Exercise can help keep your bowel healthy.

Why working out is so important when you have incontinence

At-home workouts may be foreign to some, but just because you’re stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t get a great sweat going. If you’ve been floundering in your workout routine this past year, you’re not alone. A recent study looked at the daily step count of users of Apple and Android phones who used the popular smartphone app, Argus. They found that just 10 days into the pandemic, users’ step counts dropped by 5.5%. Within 30 days, they had dropped by a whopping 27.3% in mean steps.   

Of course, it’s detrimental for anyone to see such a reduction in physical activity. But, for those with incontinence, staying active and fit is especially important for several reasons. To start, physical activity helps control weight, and it’s been shown that obesity can hurt bladder control since it places an increased strain on the pelvic floor muscles, causing them to weaken. 

Staying fit helps keep the rest of your muscles in shape, too. Building a strong core improves bladder control by strengthening the muscles around the spine, providing support to the bladder and other pelvic floor organs. When you don’t get enough physical activity, these muscles can weaken, leading to bladder leaks, especially if you’ve been prone to them in the past. 

Our recent survey focused on the effects the pandemic has had on those with incontinence found that many people living with bladder leaks have noticed an increase in leaks, and some have blamed it on a lack of physical activity.  


Want one more reason to stay active while stuck at home? Exercise is a terrific stress-fighter. We found in our survey that many people are also experiencing higher levels of stress –  financial strains, health concerns, and an increase in responsibilities – from caring for a sick loved one or looking after kids who are also now stuck at home. Stress has been a mainstay for many during the pandemic.  In these stressful times, it’s so important to have a way to decompress and blow off some steam. 

And while it may feel harder to get in your daily workout with all the restrictions we’ve been facing (many gyms are closed, inclement weather conditions have made it harder to get outside), getting in some good exercise while at home is easier than you think! 



You’ve likely seen advertisements for at least some of these popular fitness courses. While there are many that you can subscribe to every month, there are also loads of free apps and videos that will keep you sweating, and need little to no equipment.  

Paid Programs

While it may seem indulgent to pay for a workout program, there are some advantages to paying for these services. Many of these programs come with an app to help you personalize your workouts to your specific level. They may also track your performance over time, and may even offer live classes you can tune into. Paying for a program may also make you more likely to do it – after all, you’re more likely to get up at the crack of dawn to fit in a workout if you’re paying for it, right? And, if you find a program you like, it’s likely less than what you may have been paying for a gym membership. Some of our favorite subscription workouts are:

  • Peloton

    You’ve likely seen ads for Peloton bikes all over the place – the company has exploded during the pandemic as more and more people have been investing in their home workout equipment. But did you know that Peloton also offers a paid program for their app, which includes a live stream, and on-demand videos for yoga, strength training boot camps, running, and more?  It’s a great program, even if you don’t have a Peloton bike.  Learn more about Peloton.


  • Les Mills.

    A popular class at most major gyms, Les Mills Body Pump focuses on light weights with high repetition, helping you strengthen and tone muscles quickly. Their paid app offers not only Body Pump, but also classes in cycling, kick-boxing, dance, HIIT classes, and even youth classes if you have younger kids at home who want in on the action.  Learn more about Les Mills. 

  • Core Power On Demand.

    Core power is yoga with a kick. More intense than your average yoga session, Core Power offers new classes monthly in their online collection. Get access to yoga, sculpting, and meditation classes and access them anytime at home. Learn more about Core Power On Demand.


  • Daily Burn.

    A great all-in-one option for those who like variety, Daily Burn offers yoga, kickboxing, muscle building, pilates, cardio, and pre and post-natal workouts, among others. They live-stream a new workout each day, and you can choose the option of doing group classes, or one-on-one training. A great option for beginners, or for those who are ready to kick up their workout a notch. Click here to learn more about Daily Burn.

  • Obe Fitness.

    Offering a mix of cardio, sculpting, HIIT, yoga, and everything in between, Obe is a great option for those looking to mix it up. They host 22 live classes every day and have a catalog of over 5,000 on-demand workouts, which means you’ll never get bored. You can also take part in programs that target specific goals, or even connect with others who are in the Obe Community, which helps make it more fun and keeps you accountable. Learn more about Obe Fitness.

  • Glo.

    If you want unlimited access to yoga, pilates, and meditation classes, Glo is for you. World-class instructors live-stream classes each week and there are thousands of on-demand classes to choose from.  Learn more about Glo.


  • Studio Bloom.

    A great option for women who are pregnant, or who have just had a baby, Studio Bloom offers safe workouts for busy mommas. Learn how to strengthen your body to prepare for childbirth, or heal your postpartum body.  They even offer customized programs for women experiencing incontinence, pelvic pain, pelvic organ prolapse, and more.  Learn more about Studio Bloom.

Free Online Classes

While paid subscriptions have their place, nothing beats free, especially if you’re experiencing any financial hardships at the moment.  The online options below are our favorites if you’re looking for a free workout that still packs a punch.

  • Nike Training Club.

    A favorite for a reason, the Nike Training Club app features yoga, workouts, guided meditation, and more, all at your fingertips, and all completely free.  A great option for those looking for a variety of classes that you can do for free, with little to no equipment. You can access the Nike Training Club videos and programs through their app, and they’re also available on YouTube.  Speaking of YouTube…

  • YouTube.

    If you don’t already know it, YouTube offers a TON of online courses. While you do have to be a little careful here (anyone can upload a video, after all) there are some great channels you can subscribe to – some from very well-known companies – that will give you a great variety and a great workout. Some great free workout video channels to check out are: 

    • Blogilates. A certified Pilates and fitness instructor, Cassey Ho is the face behind Blogilaties, an insanely popular YouTube Channel and website that offers instruction on a variety of videos featuring pilates, cardio, and sculpting moves. 

    • Alo Yoga. Offering a variety of yoga videos from simple to intense, plus guided meditations, Alo Yoga is a great resource. 

    • Yoga with Adrienne.  With a free library of yoga videos for all stages, this popular instructor will help you tone and trim. 

    • BeFit. This channel offers some classic workout videos from legends like Jane Fonda, Denise Austin, and Billy Blanks Jr. 

    • Orange Theory Fitness. The classic brick and mortar studio offers a free online channel with HIIT workouts that will get your heart rate high and sculpt your entire body. 

    • PopSugar Fitness. Check out the hottest workout trends, like Tabata, P90X, and the Bar Method with PopSugar Fitness.

    • Tone It Up. Only have a few minutes to spare? You can still sneak in a workout from the Tone It Up channel, featuring everything from running and cycling, targeted strength moves, and quick cardio hits. Plus extra tips on nutrition, the best workout equipment, and more. 

    • Livestrong Women. Featuring all sorts of workouts, from yoga and abs to HIIT and even resistance band training, Livestrong Women has a workout for you. 

    • Mad Fit. Do you live in an apartment? Need to keep the noise down? This channel offers workouts that feature HIIT exercises but are appropriate for apartment dwellers. Many of the videos on Mad Fit feature low-impact moves, with no jumping (also a plus if you’re prone to bladder leaks).  

    To access any of the above, just type in the name of the workout into your YouTube search bar, then click on the one you’d like to do

  • AmazonPrime.

    If you have a membership for Amazon Prime or an Amazon Fire Stick, you have access to thousands of workout videos at your fingertips.  Practice yoga or pilates, strengthen your core, join a Zumba class, and more with the array of options.  Just search for Exercise & Fitness in the Prime App to access the videos.

  • Fitness Blender.

    This site offers workouts for all levels, from beginners to advanced, and lets you sort by type of workout, type of equipment used, the area of your body you’d like to focus on, and even the gender of the instructor you’d like to work out with.  Learn more about Fitness Blender here.


If it’s warm outside…get out there! Most experts agree that if you’re outside, and maintaining a safe distance, your risk of catching the coronavirus is minimal. Do what’s easy and what feels good to you. Walking is a great exercise that requires minimal equipment and can be done almost anywhere. If you’re up for it, go for a run. Live near some pretty scenery? Take a hike. Or, engage your partner or roommate and try some tennis.  Whatever gets your body moving.  



We’ve all been there – we get so focused on our work or doing things around the house that before we know it, it’s the end of the day. Don’t miss your workout simply because you forget. Set yourself up for reminders. Whether it’s using a smartwatch or a calendar reminder or putting a post-it note on your fridge or your mirror where you’ll see it, make it a point of reminding yourself to move – even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes a few times each day. 


It’s always easier to accomplish a goal when you have the support of a friend. Ask your partner to join you in your workouts. Or, have a friend commit to working out each day and hold each other accountable.  


There’s something about tracking your steps that makes it feel like a game.  And, one study showed that people who track their steps tend to not only be more active but are less at risk for developing certain health conditions. 

Using a pedometer gives you an easy way to see where you are throughout the day (and from day to day), as well as a way to slowly increase your goals over time. Set a goal for yourself and keep track of your steps throughout the day. Aim for a little bit more each week and you’ll soon be on your way to your fitness goals. 

Don’t let your workouts slip just because you’re at home. Try one of the ideas above to stay active and healthy – no matter what the circumstances are. 

Have any other ideas for how to stay active while stuck at home? Share them with us in the comments!

How can I find out more?

Your usual doctor should be able to give you advice on how to make small changes to your diet and lifestyle. They may also advise you to visit a dietician or nutritionist, who can help create a programme tailored to your individual needs.

If you are worried that your diet is making your incontinence worse, you can find further tips and information here

If you are worried about exercising with incontinence, you can find further tips and information here.


Buckley BS, Lapitan MCM. Prevalence of urinary incontinence in men, women, and children—current evidence: findings of the Fourth International Consultation on Incontinence. Urology. 2010;76(2):265–270.

Gordon B, Shorter B, Isoldi KK, Moldwin RM. Obesity with comorbid stress urinary incontinence in women: a narrative review to inform dietetics practice. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2017;117(6):889–907.