Exercising and keeping physically active is an important way to manage and reduce lymphoedema. It helps you feel better and maintain a healthy weight, and it reduces your risk of developing other health problems. It’s also a good way to reduce stress and anxiety.
Exercise can improve lymphoedema because it:
- increases the flow of lymph by working your muscles and reducing swelling
- strengthens your muscles
- keeps your joints flexible, maintaining and improving your range of movement
- improves your posture.
Keeping physically active
Carry on using your affected limb for all your normal activities. Keeping yourself physically active by doing things around the house or in the garden is also a helpful form of exercise.
Start gently with most activities and gradually increase the intensity. You may have to avoid some activities that place stress on the affected limb, for example moving heavy pieces of furniture with your affected arm.
It’s also important to break up long and busy days with times of resting with your limb supported. If your arm is affected, be careful not to carry anything too heavy. If you need to go shopping, use a trolley or, if you can, do your shopping online and have it delivered to avoid carrying heavy bags.