Working out with secondary lymphedema can be challenging. For the past three weeks, I have been working out consecutively with only two to three random rest days. I started with jumping rope for two weeks straight. I jumped for about 20-30 minutes every day and then started doing Billy Blanks Tae Bo workouts. I have secondary lymphedema in my left foot and ankle. You can tap here to read more of my secondary lymph journey if you would like. 

Photo by Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash

I work out without my compression socks on most days. I have found that my workout shoes give me enough compression for the top portion of my feet. My feet do swell mostly on the top and ankles. My workout shoes provide a fair bit of compression to keep the lymph down on the tops of my feet as I wear them. When I work out with my compression socks; sometimes, the squeeze is just too tight, and I feel constricted in my shoes. 

However, I have tested my ability to still have blood flow in my feet while working out with secondary lymphedema. I’m not going to squeeze or stuff my feet into shoes to look cute or get something done. 

What I have learned with working out with secondary lymphedema? 

1. I must obey your body’s limitations to some exercises. If I have to do specific exercises modified, then proceed to do them that way. The more unnecessary stress or weight that you place on my legs and feet to complete any particular activity can cause more harm in the end. 

2. When having the ability to work out from home, don’t neglect your space. I have learned that it’s vital to keep up with the area around me. Working out from home has been a blessing for me. I can jump rope outside or even at my house. Before living where I do now, I stayed in a very tight space and on a second floor. I was limited to doing specific at-home workouts without disturbing my neighbors. I currently make it my mission to keep my workout space clutter-free. There won’t be anything in my way while trying to work out. 

3. Don’t overwork yourself. If your body or feet feel weak in any way, take a break. When I first started jumping rope, the arches in my feet would hurt. I was also unable to get a good pace down. My feet would feel as if they were ready to give out. I also experience shin splints with jumping rope too frequently. I had to rest and stop overworking myself. I knew that I was also recording myself jumped rope for my documentary and was sharing my journey with others. Taking time to rest made me value my progress.

4. Slow progress is still progressing, especially when working out with secondary lymphedema. When I first started off, I did not think to take many photos of my body. Before I started taking my self seriously, I was overwhelmed and overeating, which caused my feet to swell more than they usually did. I wanted to start with changing my diet and increasing my water intake as I started working out. It took me two weeks to start noticing how my resting heart rate had dropped. I began at 77bpm, and now I am down to 66bpm. 

Overall, I am just a lymphie woman who decided that she wanted to embrace a positive change towards her health. If you are willing to commit to changing your health in any way, remember that it starts with your mindset. I share my workouts on my Instagram story. 

One must be willing to set aside the negative and self-defending thoughts of change. I will be sharing more of my journey on here as time progresses on. If you have any questions or comments 

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