Your Lymphatic System

An EPIC bodily system you cannot afford to ignore!

This rarely talked about system is thankfully gaining a little more attention nowadays and if you’re not paying attention to it, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to support your immune system and overall health!

LET’S UNDERSTAND THE WORKINGS OF THIS LITTLE BEAUTY!

The Lymphatic System can aptly be described as the waste disposal of the body and is responsible for filtering and eliminating toxins. Being part of the body’s immune system, it helps to protect us from infection and disease and is made up of lymph fluid which passes through lymph nodes connected by a network of lymph vessels. It contains white blood cells (lymphocytes) which fight infection.

The Lymp acts as a one-way drainage system transporting fluids from body tissues into the blood circulation.

The nodes are found throughout the entire body, but mainly in the neck, armpits, groin and stomach. Hence the often swollen glands when we’re fighting an infection! Lymph fluid normally flows through the network of lymph vessels that connect to a group of lymph nodes. The nodes act as a filter destroying or trapping anything harmful that the body doesn’t need. The white blood cells within these nodes will attack and break down bacteria, viruses, damaged cells, and cancer cells. Waste products and the destroyed bacteria are then carried in the lymph fluid back into the bloodstream and are removed from the body with other body wastes.

HOW YOU CAN HELP YOUR LYMPHATIC SYSTEM TO WORK OPTIMALLY

The Lymphatic System relies on our body movements as a pump! And here are my top tips to help you get this system pumping and ultimately healing and strengthening every single cell in your body in a very positive way!

  • Do five to ten minutes of rebounding a day. This is the best way to stimulate lymphatic drainage and is indeed also endorsed by NASA. See my blog post; https://www.jennirivett-blog.com/home/on-the-rebound

  • Walking gets your lymphatic system moving.

  • Yin yoga stretches the hips and groin area which contains a concentration of lymph nodes.

  • Dry skin brushing. Since your Lymphatic system is close to the surface of the skin body brushing is super helpful.

  • Deep breathing daily is important.

  • Follow an anti-inflammatory diet.

  • Hydrate – the Lymphatic system is primarily composed of water and must be hydrated to function optimally.

  • Avoid tight fitting garments.

Love your lymph!

Sitting at a desk while hunched over a computer will cause a plethora of imbalances and continual pain from hunched shoulders and a curved thoracic spine (kyphosis), to shortened hamstrings and hip flexors. If we look at our anscestors, this is not how we’re meant to be. We were designed to run, jump, leap, reach upwards, backwards, bend down quickly, twist etc etc. And yet nowadays so many of us sit at a desk hunched over a computer, stand up from our desk and walk forwards, meaning our bodies are in a constant state of flexion with very little extension. This is one of the most profound ways in which ageing presents itself.

THE JOINT CONNECTION

A joint is the connection between two bones. Joints and their surrounding structures allow you to bend your elbows and knees, wiggle your hips, bend your back, turn your head and freely move you fingers. Cartilage, synovium and a lubricant called synovial fluid cushion the joints so bones do not rub together. As we age, injury, or carrying too much weight can wear and tear your cartilage and this can damage your joints and even lead to arthritis.

HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR JOINTS

Losing weight reduces pressure on your knees, hips and back and helps prevent joint injury. According to research, with every pound gained, a person puts four times more stress on the knees!!

Strong muscles support your joints, and weight bearing exercise helps build muscle and keeps it and surrounding ligaments strong. That includes having a strong core (chest, back and abdominals) which will prevent your joints from having to do all the work.

Good posture is extremely important for healthy joints and standing and sitting up straight will protect your joints from your neck to your knees.

A healthy diet helps build strong bones and muscles too. Ensure you get enough calcium daily by eating broccoli, kale, milk, yoghurt, figs, or take a calcium supplement. Equally important, is to eat enough good quality protein – lean meat and fish, legumes, beans and nuts. Variety is key.

Ensure plenty of Vitamin D to keep bones and joints in good health. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium from the food you eat along with getting enough sunshine.

BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY …..

Personally, I’ve always been strong, fit and fairly flexible. There was, however, something lacking in my fitness regime! JOINT MOBILITY. And since regularly practising joint mobility my body is free of aches and recurring injuries. For the life of me I could not understand the persisting injury in my left hip. I now understand it was a lack of joint mobility.

A flexible person may not have the balance, core strength, or neuromuscular coordination to perform movements that a person with great mobility can. With this in mind, it’s better to be inflexible with good mobility than flexible with poor mobility. So having lean muscle on you is all well and good, but without adequate stretching and mobility work the tissue will shorten and the ability to move the respective joint through its range of motion under control will be compromised.

SO WHAT CAN WE DO?

For a remarkable impact on your well-being, I would suggest introducing a simple joint mobility routine. This will act as general maintenance for your body and keep those joints well oiled; just as a car needs oiling.

I love this part! Joint mobilisation is designed to relieve pain and muscle spasms, release tension and improve range of motion and flexibility in a joint. By regularly practicing joint mobility exercises you will be stimulating and circulating synovial fluid within the capsule, and actually “washing” the joint! In addition, you’ll be lubricating the moving parts and removing unwanted waste products. You’ll be totally revitalising your joints and preventing injury.

It literally takes no more than four minutes a day to move your joints through their full range of motion in a controlled manner. These exercises should be incorporated into your exercise programme every day. Do them on their own, or as part of a warm-up or even better, start your day with a joint mobility routine.

If you would like to do my mobility routine you can find it on the sudor.fit app.

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