Lymphedema might seem like a condition that disables a person. But despite the deformity it causes, it doesn’t mean that the person with lymphedema shouldn’t exercise. In fact, it’s all the more reason to exercise. Lymphedema exercises are part of complex physical decongestive therapy. It is required in order to improve muscle tone and lymph flow. If you have lymphedema there are several exercises you can do.
You will have to consult your doctor first though, on what exercises are suitable for you. There are basically three factors that will affect the type of exercises you can do with lymphedema. These factors include - medical conditions, stage of lymphedema and risk of injury. Your therapist will draft an exercise program to suit your needs. Remember that appropriate lymphedema garment should be worn while exercising.
If swimming is the recommended form of exercise, patients should avoid community swimming pools. A person with lymphedema may easily have an infection so it is not advisable for them to swim in a pool with many people. This way they can avoid a higher risk of becoming injured and have complications due to bacteria.
People who are in the first stage of lymphedema could practically do any exercise as long as this does not involve carrying heavy objects. Extreme sports like bungee jumping, parachuting and hang-gliding are definitely not allowed. Those in the second stage of lymphedema are recommended to do stretching exercises. They are still allowed to do other activities even judo and skiing. They might have to limit the time they spend do these activities considering the amount of strain they put on the affected limb or limbs.
The same advice goes for those who are already in the third stage of lymphedema. Usually it is the therapist who determines what sports, exercises or activities you can do, taking into consideration the duration of the activities. Generally though, limitations are very few and exercise is really encouraged since it increases lymph flow.
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