First things first, what is the lymphatic system?! The lymphatic system is made up of some organs, vessels and nodes throughout your body that aid in maintaining fluid balance, fighting infection, removing wastes and toxins and absorption of fat. This is a great video that goes over how the lymphatic system works:
There are over 600 lymph nodes in your body!! And when you have one or some removed or damaged related to you cancer diagnosis- you are more at risk for developing cancer related lymphedema. To better understand lymphedema, think of a highway that is backed up with traffic because an exit or lane is closed.
Can you exercise if you are at risk for or experiencing this? Yes you can! Woo-hoo! Research based evidence has shown that exercise is safe and can also help minimize your risk for lymphedema. Skeletal muscle contraction can even help aid in lymphatic flow.
When you start an exercise program, it is important to…
Tell the exercise professional that you are working with if you are at risk for lymphedema
Practice lymph drainage warm up exercises before your work out
Make sure you have full range of motion in your extremity before adding weight to your program
Progress slowly in your program
Now you’re ready to Fight the Fatigue!!
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