While exercising can be a discipline for most people, it’s even more challenging for those with Lipoedema, due to our body shape and the weight of our limbs. However, the benefits of doing some form of exercise will help you in the long-term by stimulating the lymphatics, strengthening muscles, reducing inflammation and boosting your mood and confidence.
EXERCISE AND LIPOEDEMA
Always seek your Doctor’s advice before beginning any new exercise program. He may be able to recommend supervised tailored programs in the local area for people with chronic conditions.
When exercising always:
- Listen to your body: Having setbacks or injuries while struggling with Lipoedema is a very real concern.
- Focus on the positive: Don’t focus on what you can’t do. Keep a journal or a diary that logs your abilities at the beginning and update these as you progress. You will be surprised at how far you have come.
- Always love and reassure yourself: Many people with Lipoedema feel so frustrated and overwhelmed by the challenges that they become hypercritical and judgemental of themselves for not being able to do exercise or look like the people around them.
- Some form of exercise is better than nothing: Simple movements and actions over the long-term can add up. So do what you can do to increase your stamina especially on good days – whether it’s walking around the park or walking around the kitchen. Make sure you move a little bit every day.
- Start small: Begin with doable activities that are suitable for your age and the stage that you are at with lipoedema. Whether you’re bedridden, housebound or struggling to maintain a ‘normal’ life, choose gentle exercises that will improve the quality of your daily life. Take a slow and steady approach and keep in mind the benefits of exercise.
When you’re building an exercise habit from scratch it’s often easier to start out with low impact exercises such as: “Exercising is so difficult when you have to and so easy when you want to.”
- WALKING: One of the great benefits of walking is that it’s free and you decide how far you can go, it’s low impact and increases your sense of well-being.
- NORDIC WALKING: This form of walking is brilliant for people with knee and joint problems which are quite common in those with Lipoedema. Nordic walking is also suitable for all ages and abilities. Check out Nordic Walking UK for a local class.
- SWIMMING or WALKING IN WATER: We know that getting into swimming costumes or into a pool can be challenging for people with Lipoedema. However, swimming does not put pressure on the joints and can help significantly with lymphatic movement; it’s a natural form of compression. Aqua-size classes are also an option. To encourage and reassure you, think about joining a 'females only' class. If you wish wear swimming leggings and look for pools with steps rather than ladders. See more here.
- TAI CHI: It is a very gentle form of movement which improves breathing, gets the lymphatics moving and can increase mobility and strength. See here for more.
- YOGA and PILATES: Many people think yoga is for the young and fit; however many poses can be adapted to suit abilities and age groups. These forms of exercises are good at building strength in the muscles and your flexibility. Check out classes locally - you may be able to find one which offers seated yoga classes
- TRIPUDIO MOVEMENT: This is simple movements with a focus on the fluid systems in the body, including the lymphatics and the cardiovascular systems. See here for more.
- VIBRATION MACHINE: This creates lots of small muscle responses which allow the body to tone, build flexibility and strength. It also gets the lymphatics moving. There is the added benefit to of being accessible in the home and it is suitable for all levels of fitness. However, if you have knee or joint problems check with your Doctor first before trying this form of exercise.
- COMPRESSION & EXERCISE: You should always wear your compression during exercises whenever possible. Some people with Lipoedema may even wear compression whilst swimming. It is recommended that you do not wear compression when on a vibration machine because the vibration machine is to help loosen things up in your body.
- Read more about Lipoedema and Exercise here