Exercise but don’t sweat it sounds a little crazy but when you have Lymphoedema this is the aim! Light exercise means light, not overdoing it but enough to move the lymph around the body but without creating more.
Exercise is important in the treatment of lymphedema because the movement of the muscles stimulates the flow of the lymph into the capillaries, unlike the blood, which flows due to the pumping of the heart. Wearing a compression garment during exercise also provides resistance to further stimulate the flow. However if the body gets to hot this causes excess lymph to be produced and leak into the tissues, causing a negative reaction, the limb will become tight and uncomfortable.
Taking it gently is not in my nature, I decided to get on an exercise bike and ride 5 km as fast as I could, well I paid the price for that one, with an unhappy leg! I really miss being able to do things like a run, bike ride or even a walk on a very hot day, in Australia 40 degree days do not help. I used to love going to the beach but sun bathing is another no no! Over time I feel my leg loosing strength and me fitness.😕😕
Exercise is part of the daily routine in some form, walking and swimming I find the best. My favourite is to find a pool I can walk up and down in, as the natural pressure of the water acts as a compression garment and the limb remains cool. In Australia we also have classes called Encore, for those who have had breast cancer, to do water aerobics to help with Lymphoedema, also to help avoid it. I wish there were classes for those with other forms of Lymphoedema, not just as a form of exercise but to meet others and learn from each other, maybe this could be the next project! Just the activities of daily life will help to move the Lymph, sitting and standing in one spot for any length of time is not helpful.
When all the exercise is over and it is time to relax it is elevate, elevate, elevate!! Gravity will also help the lymph to travel away from swollen feet and ankles and encourage flow up the legs and into good lymph nodes. I also raise the end of the bed on a couple of paperback books to help lymph leave the legs during the night. Sometimes it is not possible to elevate the legs but I have a friend who has solved this by carrying a small folding stool with her everywhere, what a great idea! You know who you are!!!
What helps your Lymphoedema? What do you miss being able to do?