- Keep active and avoid sitting for long periods of time.
- Start with gentle exercise and gradually work up to more challenging exercise.
- Avoid strenuous exercise if your body isn’t used to it.
- 30 minutes of moderate exercise, 5 times per week is recommended.
- Check your affected limb before and after exercises for these symptoms: discomfort, heaviness, tightness, fullness, swelling, burning, itching, numbness, pins and needles, temperature changes, redness of the skin and indentations from clothing or accessories (such as socks and watches).
- Elevating limb while exercising will assist lymph return.
- Don’t exercise in hot weather.
- Yoga, Tai Chi and gently dancing are all recommended as the rhythm is slow and compliments the lymphatic system.
- Walking or Nordic walking with poles is acceptable.
- Modified gym programs using low loads and avoiding high impact activities is suggested.
- Resistance training twice per week is recommended.
Warm Up and Cool Down
For many people living with lymphoedema, their sport of choice doesn’t fall onto the recommended activity list. You may choose to play golf, tennis or to go sailing.
When participating in these moderate-intensity exercises, it’s vital to warm up and cool down appropriately and monitor the signs of lymphoedema, including: discomfort, heaviness, tightness, fullness, burning, pins and needles, itchiness, swelling, temperature changes, redness of the skin and indentations from clothing.
- Care must be taken with exercises that overheat the body, increase the heart rate and blood pressure, such as running, netball, squash and hockey. If possible, it is best to avoid the overheating caused by these activities. Avoid contact sports in all circumstances.
- Exercise in the cooler parts of the day.
- Monitor for signs of lymphoedema.
- Have a luke-warm shower after exercising and elevate the limb for 30 minutes.