Monday, December 05, 2016

Bounce Away The Holiday Pounds
Your Lymphatic System Will Thank You

Bouncing burns calories and supports lymphatic circulation.

For delicious recipes to support weigh loss, download my eBook, Health Begins in the Kitchen

Post Holiday Pounds
I had a great Thanksgiving as Doug, Linda and I ate and drank our way through the wonderful restaurant scene in Minneapolis. Don't believe me? Just look at my scale!

I can't blame all the added pounds on Thanksgiving. They've been inching up for a few months now. I got lazy with logging my calories on MyFitnessPal and I haven't been exercising as much as I usually do. (Turns out all that farming I did this summer didn't burn as many calories as I had hoped). I feel a need to take action now before the Christmas holiday does more damage!

The Lymphatic System
You might be asking why on earth this leads us to a discussion of the lymphatic system. Well, here's the story. 

I found a lump right above my collarbone a few months ago. Lumps are never a good thing so I ran straight to my naturopath who examined it and subsequently made me take a million tests. Turns out it was just a swollen lymph gland reacting to a sinus flareup and it subsided a few weeks later. But perhaps my lymph nodes weren't draining well enough because I haven't been active enough. It's just a theory, but if it motivates me to get off my butt, I'm sticking to it. 

The lymphatic system is a critical part of the body's immune system. In ways, it is similar to our circulatory system as it has vessels throughout our body and interfaces with various organs. But instead of having veins, arteries, and capillaries, it consists of lymphatic vessels. These vessels are connected to lymph nodes whose job is to filter the lymphatic fluids and rid them of toxins, cellular waste, bacteria, viruses, and other unwanted materials. At the same time, it delivers white blood cells throughout the body to fight infections. But unlike the circulatory system whose heart pumps blood throughout your body, whether you are laying on the couch or running a marathon, the lymphatic system depends on physical movement, the contraction of our muscles and gravity. 

Since there is twice as much lymph as blood, it's critical that we help it circulate throughout our bodies. A congested lymphatic system can lead to swollen lymph nodes, recurrent sore throats, a weakened immune system, muscle aches and pains, arthritis, and other disorders. 

Things that Help Lymphatic Congestion
The first thing my naturopath recommended was to start bouncing! Well that sounded like a lot of fun so I immediately ordered a mini trampoline. They come in various sizes. I picked a 38-inch Intone Plus Rebounder because it doesn't take up much space yet it's big enough that I feel safe. It also has two resistance tubes for upper body strength training. I actually use them to make sure I don't drift of the rebounder while bouncing and watching TV. This model also has a counter which tells you how long you work out and how many times you bounce.

Stamina 38-inch Intone Plus Rebounder

Depending on how vigorously you jump or jog in place, and how many pounds you weigh, you will burn anywhere from 120 to 170 calories in 30 minutes. Like any exercise, you will have to work yourself up to 30 minutes. But even bouncing for a mere 10 minutes a day can do a lot of good.

Other Things your Lymphatic System will Enjoy
Besides bouncing, here are some other things you can do:
* Stretching
* Any aerobic exercise
* Your lymphatic system will enjoy yoga, as its many twists and turns help facilitate drainage. 
Skin brushing will also stimulate your lymphatic system.
* Drink lots of water.
* A gentle massage, especially a lymph drainage massage, can get stagnant lymph back into circulation.

But hands down, bouncing is the most fun. And along with a healthy diet and journaling, I'm hoping I can drop my Thanksgiving pounds and more!

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