In 2015 L-W-O took a conscious decision not to use the word ‘exercise’ and this has been quite a challenge because everyone else uses the word ‘exercise’. Why do this? Our members who have leg or foot lymphoedema really struggle with getting around and telling them exercise would help to improve their condition, does not help their mental health, and creates more stress. I found the word 'exercise' led to hostile reactions and excuses as to why they could not exercise.
This also applies to anyone who has osteoarthritis, I have this throughout by body and have been fortunate to have two new knees.
Whenever L-W-O Community can our websites and social media use the hashtag #getmoving it does not conjure up the horror of doing a marathon or attending one of those superhuman aerobics classes but instead allows you to start off with small movements that can be increased step by step every day. This is something we all can do.
This page will be visual with videos not only showing the movements you can make but explaining why movement is important to your lymphatic health.
Several organisations within the lymphoedema community have also dropped the word ‘exercise’ and replaced it with the word ‘movement’. In July, The British Lymphology Society (BLS) are going to do a push on their #everybodycan campaign. Inspired by a piece Margaret Sneddon wrote on LinkedIn I started to formulate ideas for a video and the first draft was sent to Margaret. We agreed to make this a joint initiative which will be launched on the 1st of July 2021. We value the importance of community engagement and hope more lymphoedema organisations will come on board to raise the profile of lymphoedema. L-W-O is thrilled to be working with this great organisation to improve lymphatic health for those of us who live with lymphoedema. Let us know what you think in our chat box.
Movement is the key to helping control your lymphoedema, it helps reduce swelling if you don't move neither will your lymphatic system and your lymphatic health is important to your overall health. Take up the #find3 challenge from BLS.
Start off slowly with any exercises, make sure you do warm-up exercises before you start. Stop to take on fluids, keep hydrated, and remember to do cool-down exercises.
Swimming is a great for lymphoedema. After you have had your swim, shower away any chlorine or salt water, carefully towel dry and moisturise your skin, as chlorine can dry out your skin. If you wear compression while swimming use an old one.
Music is the great motivator.
Use your favourite music to help with your routines as this will also help towards feeling good.
Dance to lymphatic health. The above videos are a joint initiative between L-W-O Community and The British Lymphology Society. It shows an effortless way to boost your lymphatic health and improve your overall health.
Simple ideas to get you moving, on your own or with family or friends
When I was first diagnosed with lymphoedema, I was told that heavy lifting including carrying heavy shopping, wearing a shoulder bag on my affected side or any form of strenuous exercise would increase my swelling and make my lymphoedema worse. The fact is that exercise is good for lymphoedema even weight lifting is a good way of boosting lymphatic flow.
We now know that much of the historical advice given by our health care providers was not evidence based. In fact the dreaded 'dos and don't list' created far more stress and upset in patients that are at risk. Please remember we are all different what is right for me may not be right for you. At the end of the day it is a personal choice and we advise sensible precautions.
Throughout L-W-O Community we promote our philosophy of #getmoving because we now know that movement and exercise has a positive impact on lymphoedema swelling, improves mental health, improves our lymphatic health therefore improving our overall health and wellbeing.
Remember as with any exercise/movement:
Do warm up exercises
Hydrate take on plenty of fluids
Do cool down exercises