Thursday, April 14, 2016

Lymphedema and the Desk Job

The lymphatic system is twice the size of the cardiovascular system yet does not have it’s own pump (the cardiovascular system has the heart). So, the lymphatic system relies on help from outside sources: this help primarily comes from muscle movement that pushes the lymph through the body and gravity (when used to your advantage) encourages lymph fluid to be drained.

There are three major negative effects on lymph fluid flow when sitting at your desk job:
  1. Creates blockages: One of the largest collections of lymph nodes are found in the groin. When you sit, the lymph nodes in your groin are compressed and a bent hose effect inhibits the flow of lymph fluid from the legs to the stomach (you know when you bend a hose and the water stops flowing? this is a similar idea).
  2. Gravity, gravity, gravity: When you sit, gravity works against any chance your lymph fluid had at getting from your toes to your stomach.
  3. Prolongs immobility: This last one is quite simple–when you’re sitting, you’re not moving. The move you move, the more you help lymph fluid flow through your body.
Here are some tips to combat this problem:

An easy way folks can include more activity in the workday is by walking—take the long way to the printer, meander to a coworker’s desk instead of emailing, or hold the meeting out outside the boardroom.

Sit on a stability ball
Sitting on a stability ball, instead of in an office chair, can be an easy way to increase activity. To sit balanced on the ball (instead of rolling and wobbling around), people need to engage their core muscles. While people are sitting on the ball, they are working on their abs, explains Geier.

Take a stand
Standing desks keep employees on their feet, instead planted in their chairs. Even if your office doesn’t have standing desks, get on your feet to work. Take a phone call and walk around the office or stand when reading emails.

Find an excuse for the stairs
Simply taking the stairs to and from your office every time you leave can have a real impact on your activity level, he adds.

Use the stairs in your office as a quick way to work out—if you have a few minutes walk up a few flights and then back to your office.

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