The Perfect Wintertime Lymphedema Activity

7 Feb
Compression stockings alone do not move lymph fluid.  They help prevent more fluid from collecting.  Only exercise (combined with compression stockings), massage and therapeutic devices can propel lymph fluid through uncooperative lymph vessels back toward the heart, where it belongs.
I do my best to exercise regularly, because exercise stimulates lymphatic flow. In the wintertime, however, it is more difficult for me to get motivated to exercise.Here in New York state, we have had a great deal of the fluffy white stuff this winter. If you live in a similar area, you might want to try an exercise that’s fun, great for lymphedema and sure to keep you moving during these cold months. It’s called snowshoeing.

(Click below to watch the video for a demonstration – or read the transcript that follows – to see how snowshoeing is a perfect lymph fluid-moving wintertime activity.)

Special thanks go to my mother and brother, who gave me the snowshoes and poles as a Christmas present this year.  My family has always encouraged me to try new things as I cope with lymphedema.  You never know what new activity, product or routine could make an impact in the successful management of this condition. I am very lucky to have cheerleaders to keep pushing me past my comfort zone, and to make sure I never lose hope that we all can find a better way to live with lymphedema.

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VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: “I’m always looking for new ways to get exercise to get the lymphatic fluid flowing, and today I am trying snowshoeing. And what’s great about snowshoeing is – well, it’s fun – but the repeated action of lifting up your legs like this creates a natural pump in my legs especially in the groin area here to get that lymph fluid flowing and the cardiovascular exercise forces me to breathe really deeply and that causes the lymphatic fluid to get going all over the entire body, so it’s an excellent exercise for my lymphedema.

It can be tough in the wintertime to find an exercise to keep things going and not just stay inside. My normal activity is swimming and that can be kind of tough to want to do in 15-degree weather.

So what do you need for snowshoeing? You need to go to a ski or sports supply store and pick up snowshoes like this, and you need waterproof or warm boots to slide inside. Poles are optional, but nice to keep you steady — and maybe a friend or two to go with you.

Be sure to always wear your compression stockings when you exercise and consult your lymphedema therapist or doctor before you attempt any new exercise.

Happy snowshoeing!”

 

 

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2 Responses to “The Perfect Wintertime Lymphedema Activity”

  1. cest_beau February 9, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

    For all the snow we’re getting in Boston right now, sure would be great if I had a pair of snowshoes! Running is my go-to activity and seems to help with pumping fluid in my legs, though I always thought the reason my feet looked better after a run was because of the tightness from the laced-up sneakers, squeezing the lymph away.
    Been following your blog, thanks for doing it and keep writing! It’s nice to find others who have lymphedema and are active, busy, and happy.

    • brittavl February 9, 2015 at 7:36 pm #

      Thank you for commenting, c’est beau, and thanks especially for the encouragement to write. Here is a link to the snowshoes my mom gave me – http://bit.ly/1vAWakf – in case you are tempted. I have relatives in West Newton, so I know what your winters are like up there! I used to run and still do from time to time – but I find it to be harsh on my body. I admit – my bucket list includes a marathon run – have you ever done that? I don’t know if my legs could endure the training, but how cool would that be? I know the Lymphatic Education & Research Network has a team in the NYC marathon each year, but I don’t know if any of them actually have lymphedema…..

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