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Exercise to stimulate the lymphatic system


We all exercise every day in many different ways during our daily activities. The lymphatic fluid circulates throughout the body with every movement we perform. When the muscles contract and relax during activity, the one-way valves in the lymphatic vessels open and close to allow the fluid to move towards the heart preventing the backflow.

The lack of exercise or a diminished daily activity on the other side can be the cause for lymphoedema and its ongoing vicious cycle.


Choice of activity

The most suitable activities to encourage the performance of the lymphatic system are:

Incidental activities such as climbing stairs at home, walking the dog, doing the shopping, cooking.
Qi Gong and Tai Chi exercises vary the total tissue pressure and relax the mind causing the muscles to release the tension
Hydrotherapy is a gentle, non weight-bearing exercise that offers a natural pressure gradient.
Swimming is a great alternative to land exercise, as the cold water decreases the blood hydrostatic pressure and the saltwater kills the bacteria on the skin. It has the added benefit of emptying the central lymph reservoirs first, and effectively pumps the lymph nodes.
Walking is the most natural way to exercise. Walk 4 kilometers in 40 minutes 4 times a week. Should this regimen not be suitable for you, start by walking 10 to 15 minutes everyday and gradually increase the walking time, the intensity or the distance.
Bike riding is a non-weight bearing exercise, an alternative to walking for people with knee problems



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