Before the exercises I want to mention a couple of tips for the flight. Here goes:
- Get an aisle seat, best to the side of your lymphedemaleg so you can stretch it every now and then when sitting down. An aisle seat will allow you to get up anytime you want, at least I find that when in the middle seat I don't feel like bothering my neighbor more than absolute nessesary.
- Drink lots to stay hydrated and to make sure you get up (to go to the toilet).
- Consider wearing extra compression on (some of) the leg, ie cut an old stocking in half and wear it on top of the other. Be careful if you have pressure sensitive spots though.
- Consider wearing trekking sandals for the flight so you won't have trouble getting your shoes back on should the foot go up a little.
- Bring bandages (or nightgarment if you have one) and consider wrapping (some of) the leg the first night after arrival.
- Get up and walk/move often. It sucks when you just want to sleep, but it will do you good.
- Not really flight-related but perhaps it is wise to put the words Cellulitis and the latin name for Rosen, Erysipelas, in your phone or on a piece of paper in case you get it, it might speed up treatment if doctors don't have to figure it out themselves first. Just an idea.
And now to the in-flight – or anytime – exercises:
Standing with feet together and knees together, focusing on keeping knees together kick your bum with the lymphemaleg. This will help draw the fluid in the knee area upwards. Repeat 10 times or more per session.
This one can easily be done in the aisle.
Lifting your knee and thigh as high as you can.
Also suited for the aisle. Repeat.
On your toes and down again. Aisle material.
The classic lift your heel, lift your toes, getting those pumps going.
Lift your leg upwards while you with both hands try to push it back down. Hold it for 5-10 seconds, then rest before another round. This creates circulation in the limb.
Deep squatting. This one can be done in the bathroom, if need be with one leg of either side of the toiletbowl. Up and down. On my last long haul I would do this 15 times every time I went to the bathroom.
Deep breathing. Take deep breaths filling up the belly, not the chest. Breathe in and out through your nose. You can practise from home by lying down, one hand on the chest. If done correctly the chest should not be moving. My belly is full of air here.
You can also do lunges, they are supposed to be really good.
I don't really fancy them with an audience though...
- Exercises for the pelvic floor. For women: Imagine having a pee and having to stop. Big lymphnotes are located in this area, which is why this one is useful.
- Go for walks in the aisle. Often.
Update: Download the PDF-file here.
See other posts about flying with Lymphedema here.