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L-W-O Community

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

The aim is to encourage those who struggle to #getmoving.  

I understand that many of us do not like exercising, we do not like to be told that we should be doing something because it is good for us. The lymphatic system does not have a pump of its own therefore, gentle movements are important so that the lymphatic fluid does not stagnate and ultimately cause infection.  You can perform most of these movements sitting in your chair or standing. In our getmoving series I have deliberately kept routines simple this is about encouraging you to start gently, keep it simple.


Lymphoedema Awareness Day May 2018



Having fun, blowing bubbles doing our deep breathing with Healthy-Steps.

Take a look at the Healthy-Steps Facebook page, run by our friends Janet & Jackie who are the UK & Europe license holders for 


Movement not Exercise

I took a conscious decision in 2015 not to use the word ‘exercise’ and this has been quite a challenge because everyone else uses the word ‘exercise’.  Why did I do this?  Many of our members who have leg or foot lymphoedema really struggle with getting around and telling them if they exercise more this would help to improve their condition, does not help their mental health, and creates more stress. I found the word 'exercise' led to hostile reactions and excuses as to why they cannot exercise.

This also applies to anyone who has osteoarthritis, I have this throughout by body and have been fortunate to have two new knees.

Whenever I can on L-W-O sites I use the word #getmoving it doesn’t conjure up the horror of doing a marathon or attending one of those super human aerobics classes but instead allows you to start off with small movements that can be increased step by step every day.

Get moving

My nightmare scenario would be to join a gym, been there, done that and hated every moment.  Not for me!

Now financially it would be outside my pocket range as it would be for many of our members therefore, I work on the principal of finding exercise you can do from home that doesn't have restrictive cost implications.  How do I reach those who live with lymphoedema and who have repeatedly been told they need to keep moving?  Conversations such as “my legs are so heavy, I can’t get off the sofa” or “I am exhausted, I have no strength” are frequent in social media conversations.  Living with lymphoedema is exhausting but whatever excuses we make unless we get moving our condition will not get any better.

Movement is as important as our daily shower, moisturising our skin & drinking water.

Why Move?

There are many sensitive issues around telling those living with lymphoedema about needing to exercise. Mobility problems for lower limbs with lymphoedema create all sorts of problems and constantly telling someone they must exercise is depressing and causes further stress.  

Talk more about movement and encourage our members your patients not to sit or lie still for hours but to shift position every 30 minutes, staying on your feet initially for two minutes building up to five minutes, doing a little more each day.

Movement helps move the lymph fluid around your body.  The lymphatic system does not have its own pump.  Lymph flow depends on the muscles working like a pump to encourage drainage and prevent fluid from accumulating in your tissue. The only way to stop it stagnating and causing problems is to keep the fluid moving.

The suggestions in our Get Moving series are designed to do at your own pace and level.  In the beginning only do what you feel able to do.  When you feel more confident you can increase the amount you do. 

Make sure you drink water in between each routine

The important part of any routine is the warmup, these exercises prepare your body in a gentle way 

Equally important is the cool down at the end of your routine

My Physio Suggested

If you have had new knees or hips my physio suggested the following to get me walking again. This can be adapted for lymphoedema.

  • venture into your street, walk the length of car, turn around and come back
  • next day do the length of two cars
  • then three, then four, sometimes when you have severe mobility problems it is as much about giving yourself confidence
  • ask someone to walk with you, having someone with you that you can chat to will also help you feel good.

Useful tips

  • Swimming and water exercise are extremely helpful
  • Yoga encourages you to stretch and relax and to breathe correctly
  • Allow time to stretch all your muscles in your warm-up and cool down sessions and include breathing exercises
  • Avoid using a sauna after exercise as this may cause the swelling to increase
  • Take a water breaks before moving on to other exercises.  I cannot emphasise enough the importance of drinking water. Water helps the lymph fluid flow and stops it stagnating.  This will prevent any blockages and help to protect you from infection.
  • Avoid overexerting yourself to prevent fatigue

Music is the great motivator.

Use your favourite music to help with your routines as this will also help towards you feeling good.  


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 Community uses the hashtag #getmoving

Page last updated 31/03/2021