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L-W-O Community

For those living with Primary, Secondary & Paediatric Lymphoedema Online & in the Community

Sedentary Lifestyle Series

Sedentary Lifestyle

If you have sedentary lifestyle for example you spend a lot of time of the sofa, then you must shift your position every 30 minutes.  Any type of movement is good for you. Start with a few minutes build a sequence of movements every day, that don’t but strain on your limbs and increase those sequences until you feel comfortable.  Two minutes is better than none but aim overall for a bout 20 minutes.   Think of the sense of achievement you will feel if you could do 20 minutes or more every day.

No recent exercise

There are lots of reasons why we stop moving around, sometimes you are in a lot of pain, or you have been ill.  Getting back into moving around might seem daunting.  Your lymphatic fluid cannot move itself, its up to you to get it moving.

Everyone has a different level of fitness and ability to move around.  It is important to find the right balance of exercise that suits you.  If you are returning to exercise that you have not done for some time, start with a short session and build up regularly.

 Do warm up exercises

 At the end of your exercise have a cool down session.

Social Prescribing

If you haven't exercised for a long time, please ask your GP about exercise on prescription.  GP's across the UK can prescribe exercise as a treatment for a range of conditions, including depression.

Exercise programmes last for around 6 weeks and sometimes can be extended for a further 6 weeks.  It might be the motivation you are looking for to get you started.

This could be a new beginning, meeting new people especially if you can make it a social event.

In a wheelchair

It is important if you are in a wheel chair to keep moving.  You will need to build strength in your upper body and if you have feeling in your legs then to keep them moving as well.  I spent pre new knees many times in a wheelchair.  Numb bum and people's attitude where the  overriding memories of that time.

Also mobility scooters are great for getting you out into the fresh air but you need to build strength in your legs because sometimes you will have to park outside a store and walk inside or you will need to stop and find a toilet.  Therefore leg and foot exercises are so important to keep those muscles strong.

One of the best websites for wheelchair and those who like to exercise from a chair recommended by a L-W-O member, Sandy Owen is Wheely Good Fitness.


From a chair

If I had a pound for every time I was told that a person didn’t know they could ‘exercise’ from their bed or a chair I would be a very rich woman!  Simple movements will be added to this page as and when I can.  Although this video was produced for and by patients of Parkinsons the principles are the same.  Thank you to Janet Capstick one of our friends from Health-Steps.

Sitting or lying down

When you are in bed, lying on the sofa, or sitting in a chair with your feet up, it helps to position yourself so that the lymph fluid can continue to drain. 

  • Arm lymphoedema when sitting raise your arms to a level that is comfortable for you by using a cushion or pillow.  Not above your shoulder.
  • Leg lymphoedema, support your legs in the same way with a cushion or pillow. Do not lie with your legs down.
  • If you have head and neck lymphoedema, sleep with two to three pillows to raise your head and help the fluid to drain while you are sleeping.  If possible raise the head by using blocks under the legs.

This page was formerly called exercise and first published in July 2014

The page was re-named 20th July 2018 to Get Moving

On social media L-W-O uses the hashtag #getmoving

Page last updated 30/05/2020