Livestrong on exercise for Lymphoedema

Livestrong is the mega American cancer charity, with a lot of really good information on its website, in a much more user-friendly format than we seem to produce!

The charity is very keen on exercise post-cancer, and say the lymphatic system is made up of a network of vessels that carry a clear fluid called lymph throughout the body. Lymph fluid serves the important purpose of carrying nutrients to the cells that bathe in the fluid. The lymph fluid then delivers cellular waste to the bloodstream, which carries it to the kidneys, colon and lungs for elimination.

If your lymphatic system is blocked or clogged, you may experience a number of symptoms, including back pain, constipation, fatigue, depression and weight gain. However certain exercises can help release blockages and promote healthy movement of nutrients and waste throughout the body.

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They suggest these exercises, which can be used for other cancer conditions:

 Pelvic Tilt

Lie on your back with your hands clasped behind your head or stretched out alongside you. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor about hip-distance apart. Begin to tuck your tailbone under, pressing the small of your back into the floor, and then release. That is one pelvic tilt. Repeat 10 times.

Neck Rotation

You can perform this exercise seated or standing. As you inhale, slowly turn your head to the right to a count of five. Pause for one second and then exhale, bringing your head back to center for a count of five. Repeat on the left side. Do five repetitions on each side.

Shoulder Shrug

Stand or sit in a comfortable position. As you inhale, draw both shoulders up toward your ears and then exhale, releasing your shoulders to a neutral position. Repeat five times.

Leg Slides

Lie on your back with your arms alongside your body and your legs stretched out straight in front of you. Inhale, sliding your right leg along the floor and out to the side. Exhale sliding the leg back into center. Repeat on the other side. Perform five repetitions on each side.

Ankle Pumps

Lying on the floor on your back with your legs and arms flat on the floor, inhale and flex the ankle and exhale and extend the ankle six times, flexing and pointing the toe like a ballerina. Repeat on each side.

Leg Falls

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly lower the right knee toward the floor by letting it fall open with control to the side. Slowly bring the leg back to centre and repeat on the other side. Perform five times on each side.

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