Guidelines on Exercise For Those With/At Risk for Lymphedema
One of the most common questions asked is about how those of us who had any nodes removed can exercise safely now that we have lymphedema or are at increased risk for LE.
Stepup-Speakout.org, an amazing website about all things lymphedema has added two new exciting exercise resources. Here are the links.
These links take you to downloadable, printable PDF documents.
The first link is for anyone with or at risk of LE who needs some quick guidelines on safe exercise. Even if you only had a single node removed, you are at an increased risk for LE, so a lot of us need to know this information. If you want to start or resume your exercise program, this documents can give you some helpful ideas about exercising safely. Also, we hope that fitness professionals might find this document useful to give to clients who are b/c survivors.
The second document is designed for exercise professionals like personal trainers, yoga instructors, fitness class teachers, Pilates instructors, etc. It explains Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema, and is designed to help all of them understand LE and what they need to know to provide safe exercise instruction and coaching for those of us with, and at risk for, LE. The idea is that when we start a new fitness class or start working with a personal trainer, we can print out this document and share it with them. That way they'll be aware of our concerns and the extra care we need to take. They'll be better understand why we may avoid certain exercise moves and can give us alternate moves, or why we need to go especially slowly with upper body weight training exercises. It will help them help us.
As you may know, the Step Up Speak Out website was the brainchild of several women here on BCO who post on the LE thread. At the time they were diagnosed with LE, there was little info available on the web about LE and many surgeons know little about LE. Those women designed the site to provide complete documented LE information for those of us who have LE or are at risk for LE.
These new documents are based on research + common sense where research was not available. They were researched and written by several women who post on BCO regularly. Carol57 was an absolute dynamo and did the bulk of the writing, but wanted to give thanks to many in the BCO community who helped, with special thanks to badger, joyh1109, nitocris, binney4, and onebadboob. (I also helped a bit. ) Also, Dr. Andrea Cheville weighed in with some very helpful insights.
I'd recommend that anyone who has or is at risk for LE take a look at both documents to get some solid information about exercising safely. Obviously these documents can't take the place of medical advice, but they can provide some guidelines for those who want to exercise but just don't know how to get started safely.
There's no reason that fear of LE should keep any of us from starting or resuming a rigorous full exercise program. Studies have shown over and over again that one of the best ways to prevent b/c recurrence is to exercise regularly. I hope that these documents will give those who have or are at risk for LE the information they need to integrate a safe, effective, regular exercise program into their daily lives.