I have posted this on social media, so some of you may have seen this before. If not, then keep on reading. Ha!
I cannot say enough about the profound effects of water on the lymphatic system. I do a Hydro Fit aqua class twice a week, and I leave with a burst of energy each time. It is so exhilarating.
You don’t even need to know how to swim. Grab some water dumb bells, or a swimming kickboard, and make it your own experience. It’s a great way to beat the heat too if you are still in a warmer weather season this fall like Texas. Let’s face it, most of South Texas has 2 weeks of winter. Just kidding.
Water is natural compression, so you don’t need to wear compression garments in the water. I take off my compression stockings prior, and put them back on after I have dried off.
Wow, I always see reduction and have frequent trips to the restroom. This is a great sign for someone with Lymphedema! It means fluid is moving up and out, which means relief for you.
At first I was embarrassed to be seen at the pool, gym, or beach. People would stare at my big swollen Lymphie legs. In my mind at least. My Coach was a God send. Coach keeps me motivated while also knowing when I am pushing too hard. She has vast experience in training all types of people. From cancer survivors to the elderly, or people recovering from injuries. I have a good support system through her. What I learned is that everyone is fighting a battle that we might not know about. Whether you have bad knees, a bad back, or bad lymph vessels; everyone is just working towards meeting their own goals.
Last year I was at a breaking point because I had a pump and ill-fitting compression. My swelling was out of control. When I wasn’t on the treadmill, my Coach convinced me to do water jogging. Yes, if you have never tried it or thought about doing it, I am here to tell you it works. I started out just walking back and forth. I had a hard time kicking because my legs were so weak, but eventually they got stronger over time.
Obviously take care, wear water socks or flip flops to protect your feet. A water top or pants might be appropriate for SPF protection. My class is in the evening, so I avoid the mid-day sun. Above all, use common sense. Do not do this if you are allergic to chlorine, have breaks in your skin, or some other issue. Consult your doctor or LE therapist on what is right for you.
Since I can’t swim, the other day I used a swimming kickboard and kicked down and back. The second lap I stopped at the end and did bicep curls, lateral raises, upright rows. I did about 20 reps of each. Then came back down. I pulled myself up (could never do this before) and did 10 tricep push-ups, fan kicks, ankle rolls, and back kicks. Then sprinted as fast as I could down and back. I made it up as I went. It was fun.
You still sweat as you workout in water. It’s funny to be sweating surrounded by water, but it happens. Stay hydrated.
Here are some sample You Tube videos that gave me great ideas for workouts on my own:
- One of my personal favorites is SELF Fitness – Dive in! from SELF Magazine on You Tube. I like the water taxi.
- This one from POPSUGAR Fitness does not use any swimming. Just pool exercises to burn calories.
- Last, but not least, is a 50 -10 Hydro Training Workout posted by Fast Fit Boot Camps. This video is very close to what my own gym class does, except we use water dumbbells as pictured at the top of the page. The dumbbells come in various “weights”, so go heavier or lighter depending on your strength level.
- You can also use a pool noodle to do various exercises like jump rope underwater.
I hope I have given you some different ideas on what can be done in the water besides swimming or traditional cardio water aerobics. I’ll be honest. At first I was skeptical, but I am so glad I tried it and have continued.
By adding the official water class to my fitness schedule twice a week, I have lost 8 lbs and 3% body fat since August 10th.
Get Hydro Fit and Stay Lymphie Strong!