Get your lymph system flowing!
How are you all doing?
As things are beginning to settle here in South Australia I'm starting to get excited about seeing you again in person soon. I'm expecting to be back to doing in person consultations at the beginning of June but I will confirm that in a couple of weeks.
If you are at home more or working on the computer more you might be finding yourself more easily becoming sedentary. I'm certainly finding I need to be more structured with exercise and also, with working at home I need to remind myself that exercising is just as important as working.
There are obvious reasons why exercise is so important - cardiovascular health, mental health, muscular strength, bone strength, hormonal balance...the list goes on. One benefit that we often forget is the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a system of vessels (a bit like the blood vessels), lymph nodes where lymph fluid is filtered and lymph glands and organs such as tonsils, adenoids, spleen and thymus. One of the major roles of the lymphatic system is white blood cell maturation, storage and activation. These particular white blood cells make antibodies to foreign organisms such as viruses and bacteria and also neutralise (kill) those foreign organisms so they cannot reproduce. This is a very basic description but you can see what an important role the lymph system plays in our immune response.
Even without the COVID-19 situation we are experiencing, we want the lymphatic system functionally optimally especially as we head into the cooler months.
So what has exercise got to do with it? Well the lymphatic system doesn't have a heart to pump the fluid around, instead it has a series of valves to prevent back flow, plus the vessels are made of a type of muscle (smooth muscle like the digestive system) plus when we move and activate the muscles around the vessels it stimulates the fluid to move!
Here's a short video to explain it a bit more incase you're feeling nerdy:
So exercise and movement means the lymphatic system is being pumped around the body which means it's being refreshed with new white blood cells that can then pounce on unsuspecting viruses!
So keep going with the walking, cycling, online classes, walking up and down the stairs, skipping, dancing...whatever type of movement you enjoy...but do something every day to keep that lymphatic system pumping. Frequency is just as important as intensity for the lymph system - you don't need to do an hour of intense exercise every day, just make sure you are moving as often as possible - it could be house work, gardening, or just getting off the office chair and doing a few squats every hour.
Deep belly breathing is also a good way of stimulating the lymphatic system as we have plenty of lymph nodes in the abdomen and the movement of the diaphragm massages the spleen.
Here are 3 resources to help get your lymphatic system moving:
Neurolymphatic massage: here is a 17min video of me showing you a Kinesiology technique to help switch on your lymphatic system
For something different, here are a couple of Qi Gong videos I enjoy doing:
20min Morning Routine
20min Evening Routine