The lymphatic system plays a vital role in keeping your body healthy by moving fluids through your body that remove waste, viruses, and bacteria. When these important fluids are unable to move through the body, lymphedema can occur. Lymphedema is a chronic condition that is a result of inadequate lymphatic drainage.
When lymphedema occurs, many patients need the help of a certified lymphedema therapist who will conduct complete decongestive therapy, referred to as CDT. CDT includes manually draining the lymph nodes, bandaging the affected area, and fitting for a compression garment, like medical compression leggings, that help encourage draining. This therapy is vital, because ignoring excess fluid can lead to an escalation of infections, pain, and other issues that cause the patient further suffering.
It is also strongly encouraged that patients with lymphedema maintain a healthy lifestyle. Daily exercise can help reduce the occurrence of lymphedema flare-ups. The combination of compression garments and exercise helps the natural fluids of the body return to the circulatory system, which can reduce swelling. Here at Lymphedema Products we offer a range of DVDs focused on exercises for patients with lymphedema and with books ranging from nutritional guides to emotional wellbeing.
Exercising with Lymphedema
It’s important to speak with your doctor before starting any exercise routine. Once you are given the green light, there are a few things to keep in mind when exercising with lymphedema.
Good posture during exercise is vital to getting the most out of your exercise routine and helps to prevent injury.
When exercising with lymphedema, properly fitted compression garments, like a lymphedema sleeve for example, help circulate the blood throughout the body.
Best Exercises for Lymphedema
There is not one type of exercise that is a cure all for lymphedema, but an effective exercise program should include a combination of resistance training, and flexibility, aerobic, and strengthening exercises. Let go through each of them.
Resistance training is the most often analyzed form of exercise for patients with lymphedema, and appears to show the greatest benefit to lymphedema-specific issues.
Adding flexibility exercises to your routine helps preserve your range of motion and minimizes skin scarring. This type of exercise can also potentially reduce lymphedema related symptoms, as well as increasing strength.
Maintaining a healthy weight and aerobic exercises with light resistance will help reduce the occurrence of lymphedema flare-ups. Some good examples of aerobic exercise are aquatic exercises, yoga, and tai chi.
Strength training increases body strength, and has the potential to reduce lymphedema related symptoms. If you are new to strength training exercises, start with a low weight and increase your reps before moving to a heavier weight. If no symptoms arise, weights can be gradually increased.
Living with Lymphedema: Lifestyle Changes
It’s important to keep in mind that patients with or at risk for lymphedema should establish a customized exercise routine that fits your specific needs. If at any point while exercising you experience increased swelling, pain, or discomfort, stop all exercises and speak with your doctor before returning to your exercise routine.
Taking proper care of lymphedema requires a change in your lifestyle. Flare-ups can be prevented and fluid volumes can be reduced by visiting your doctor and lymphedema therapist regularly. Education and exercise are an important part of keeping lymphedema under control.
Lymphedema Products is dedicated to helping customers treat their lymphedema in a safe, effective, and stylish fashion. Medical Compression Wear is our exclusive business. Our attention is always focused on providing the right compression garment, bandage, or medical shapewear to meet your needs. Our wide selection of compression socks, compression shorts, arm sleeves and more offers freedom of choice—and unparalleled customer service—at the right price.