People used to believe that it was best to avoid exercise if you suffer from lymphedema. However, it has been shown that staying active can actually prevent or mitigate the condition. There are wonderful targeted ways to use Excy for lying down exercises for leg lymphedema and lymph drainage that can seamlessly fit into your regular self-care routine. The suggested leg lymphedema exercises can be done while pedaling Excy in a supine position on the floor or in bed. For those who are bedredden in a hospital bed, you might explore the Excy Bed Bike. For those using a standard bed or who are capable of getting to the floor, the Excy XCS 260 is recommended.
Cardiovascular, Range of Motion, and Resistance Training Exercises for Leg Lymphedema
The Excy leg exercises for lymphedema offer a combination of cardiovascular training, flexibility and range of motion, as well as resistance training to build up endurance over time. The goal is to focus on reducing swelling and controlling pain. There is no need to crank up the resistance levels for strenuous exercises and be tired when you are done. The goal is to focus on gentle contraction of the muscles in your leg while keeping your legs elevated higher than your heart. Take it easy and focus on deep diaphragmatic breathing. If your healthcare provider approves, do these exercises once a day. Stop if you have any pain, discomfort, fatigue (feeling more tired or weak than usual), or swelling. Talk to your doctor about incorporating appropriate compression gear to foster lymph draining throughout your body. Blood flow back to the heart is better when calf muscle pumping exercises are done with compression bandages or stockings.
Excy Setup for Lying Down Exercises for Lymph Drainage
Whether pedaling the XCS 260 that uses the Excy Keeper to prevent the system from scooting, or pedaling the Excy Bed Bike the straps to a bed, for all exercises you will lie on your back with knees slightly bent at a 20-30 degree angle and your feet flat on the pedals. Use your stomach muscles to “tilt” your pelvis and flatten your lower back into the floor or bed. Imagine pressing down on a penny with the small of your back. Once the exercise is complete, release your pelvis and repeat the engagement for your next exercise.
10 Excy Lying Down Exercises for Leg Lymphedema (Lymph Drainage). Repeat three times
- Calf Pumps: Press into the pedal as far as you are able by pointing and flexing toes to pump the calf muscle. Hold 3 seconds. Repeat 10 times and rest.
2. Ankle Pumps: Leave one foot on the pedal. Pull your free foot up toward the ceiling as far as possible. Point and flex your ankle as if pushing down or letting up on a gas pedal in a car. Repeat 10 times. Repeat with your other foot.
3. Ankle Circles: Leave one foot on the pedal. Move your free ankle clockwise, making as large of a circle as possible. Repeat in counterclockwise direction. Repeat 10 times. Another option is to spell out the alphabet in mid-air.
4. Pedal March: Remove one foot from pedal and pull to chest (one leg off the pedal). Bring your knee up toward your chest as far as possible, then back down. Repeat 10 times.
5. Bridge Reps with Legs on Pedals: Raise your pelvis off the floor while engaging your core with your feet on the pedals. Your back should be straight, and your knees should be in line with your shoulders. Start by holding the position for 10 seconds and work up to 30. Repeat 10 times.
6. Hip abduction holds. Leave one foot on the pedal. Lying on your back, slide your legout to the side, then back in. Keep your knee straight and toes pointing straight up. Repeat 10 times.
7. Back and Forth Leg Press: From the horizontal supine position, press legs back and forth with light resistance that can be increased over time. Repeat 10 times.
8. Cycling Forwards: Pedal legs forwards with light resistance. Start with 1 to 3 minute intervals. Increase as needed.
9. Cycling Backwards: Pedal legs backwards with light resistance. Start with 1 to 3 minute intervals. Increase as needed.
10. Hip Stretch: Cross one leg over the other and pull that leg close to your chest. Use your opposing leg to get a better stretch. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat 5 times. Then switch legs and repeat the stretch.
Focus on Circulation
Not to minimize this by not including it on our top 10 list, but you can also simply hold your feet on the pedals in a convenient way to keep your legs elevated above your heart. This can be a great time to catch up on your favorite TV show, catch up on email, or call your mom (you should probably call your mom). Get into a routine, a time of day that fits in with your lifestyle.
Excy Home Exercise, Physical Therapy, and Medical Fitness
Talk with your healthcare provider before you start doing any exercises, or if possible, work with a physical medicine doctor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, nurse, massage therapist, or other provider who specializes in lymphedema management and breast cancer rehabilitation. Seek out someone with training and expertise in this area; see Finding a Lymphedema Therapist for guidance.