The Lymphatic System and the Benefits of Moving your Body
How much do you sit?
Depending on the job you work and your hobbies, you might be someone who sits a lot. If you have an office job, for example, you might be sitting for most of your work day. You probably sit during your commute to and from the office. Once you’re home, feeling drained from work, most nights you might sit even more as you chill out with some Netflix and dinner.
Hey, I’m not judging! I love cozying up on the couch with my dogs, marathoning my favourite movies or binge-watching a whole series. Who doesn’t?!
While it’s a completely normal thing to do nowadays, sitting for extended periods of time takes a toll on our bodies. We were designed to move, not to sit! If you find yourself dealing with a lot of general swelling, the issue might be how much, or how little, you move.
Why is this?
Our bodies are made up of different systems - digestive, respiratory, circulatory, etc. Most of these systems work with a pump, like your heart or your lungs, to move and maintain a pace suitable for your body in every varying moment. With the exception of the lymphatic system! She’s a little different 😏 Without a pump, the lymphatic system is prone to stagnation. We need to move our bodies in order to help manage and keep it moving.
The lymphatic system is part of your immune system, compliments your circulatory system, and is found in the superficial fascia. It’s made up of a large network of lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes, and lymphatic organs and tissue. The vessels carry a clear fluid, lymph, back to the heart for recirculation. Where your circulatory system is closed, however, the lymphatic system is open. Lymph courses through your entiiire body through the vessels, fascia, and cellulite; it serves to filter blood and carry lymphocytes and white blood cells (or chyle, if it’s in the intestines). The lymphatic system is important!!
When the system becomes stagnant from lack of movement, your body feels more stiff and swollen. You might notice that your face seems puffy and your legs and hands feel tight or built up with water.
It’s surprisingly easy to help your lymphatic system work properly. You can do things like:
Stretching for at least 10 minutes
Take a hot-to-cold shower
Have an infrared sauna session
Proper hydration & getting enough electrolytes
Like a pump, the actions you take for your lymphatic system should happen regularly. You don’t have to stretch with every beat of your heart, but find a rhythm that works for you! You’ll find you’re more loose and open as your lymphatic system mobilizes and your body filters out toxins as it’s meant to.