The hot and hazy days of summer are here, which means that it’s time to indulge in all the sunshine and awesome outdoor activities, we craved all winter. However, for people living with lymphedema, the heat and humidity of the summer also brings on something no one wants: more swelling. That’s why keeping cool is a must for anyone affected by the condition, as the mercury climbs. And what better way to beat the summer heat than taking to the water?
In addition to being a great way to cool down on a hot day, partaking in some water play or exercise:
With Water, Temperature Matters:
Whether you prefer to hit your local pool or a lake at the cottage, it’s important to be aware of the temperature. Remember that water 20-30 degrees is the safest range, and that the cooler that water the longer you can stay in it. Avoid water that is too hot or too cold, as extreme temperatures can exacerbate your symptoms.
Get in the Water and Move:
While in the water keep your affected limbs or body parts beneath the water, as often as you can and swim (breaststroke is great for swelling in the arm and chest), walk, march (with high knees), or kick. Do shoulder rolls, arm circles, or simply move your arms through the water (just beneath the surface) in front of you. The key is to listen to your body, by doing what feels comfortable and right for you.
A word of caution: If after exercising in the water, you notice any increase in swelling, it’s a sign that you pushed yourself too hard. In your next session, just reduce the duration and/or intensity of your exercise to prevent your symptoms from worsening.
For more information on ideas of about specific exercises and movements to do in the water check out the video below.