DAY 2: WALK WITH ME series: against fluid retention

Today is day 2 in these free series of “WALK WITH ME” and the topic of today is about fluid retention and the role of the lymphatic system.

During these challenging times of the Corona-virus threat I would like to invite you to go on a daily walk with me to stay healthy and positive. If you are still allowed to go outside then do so! If not you can walk with me on a threadmill of in place in front of your TV watching your favourite show. If you have a stationary bike that is fine also. As long as I can get you moving.

As long as necessary I will keep encouraging you to walk with me cause walking has sooo many benefits. Everyday I will motivate you by sharing one of these benefits to inspire you to walk with me. Follow me on facebook @takeyoutimeblog and instagram @takeyoutimeblog (or click the icons above) and let me help you to stay healthy, fit and positive during times of Corona.

Today I want to share with you the benefits of walking to get rid of fluid retention and to promote healthy lymph flow. The lymphatic system is crucial for your overall health.

What is the lymphatic system?

The lymphatic system is a so-called organ system and plays a part in the circulatory and immune system. It is made up of an intelligent network of lymphatic vessels, lymphoid tissues and lymphatic or lymphoid organs. These lymphatic vessels transport a clear fluid called “lymph” towards our heart. This fluid has a similar composition as blood except for the fact that it contains more protein and lacks red blood cells, the reason it is not red. Also there are about 600 lymph nodes in our bodies, which you normally only notice when you are sick: in that case lymph nodes can be swollen. You can often feel and see them along your neckline, under the armpits or groin when you are about to have a cold or flue. The reason the get swollen is a result of an infection, due to a build-up of lymph fluid, bacteria, or other organisms and immune system cells. (source: Medical News Today)

Simply put: your lymphatic system is your body’s drainage system and when it does not drain like it should it starts to hold onto water in order to dilute the concentration of toxins (bacteria) in your body. This is good for a while in order to keep the balance in your lymps but once you are in that situation you start to suffer from swollen ankles, puffy face, your socks leave marks on your ankles, … The things we commonly call “water retention”.

The lymphatic system has 3 important functions:

  • It makes sure the balance of fluid between the blood and tissues is maintained (this is also known as fluid homeostasis)
  • It is an important part of the body’s immune system and helps to defend your organism against bacteria and other unwanted guests
  • It facilitates the absorption of fats and fat-soluble nutrients in the digestive system

Fluid balance

The lymphatic system works alongside our blood vessel system and helps to keep a normal fluid balance. It returns excess fluid and proteins from the tissues that cannot be returned through the blood vessels. If the lymphatic system would fail, this means fatal death within a day. Without the lymphatic system draining excess fluid, our tissues would swell, blood volume would be lost and a dangerous pressure level would threaten your body’s vital organs: heart, kidneys and lungs.

An important part or your immune system

According to The Mayo Clinic: “our body’s lymphatic system is part of your immune system, which protects you against infection and disease.” The system includes your spleen, thymus, lymph nodes and lymph channels, as well as your tonsils and adenoids. The lymph nodes filter the lymph fluid and filter out bacteria. Please note that this is a very simplified version of a very complex system.

The impact on the digestive system

My dear friend Haylie Pomroy, bestselling author in the USA, sees a failing lymphatic system as one of the culprits in weight gain. In her book “The Burn” (Harmony books) she writes a passage about it on page 32: “…Now that your body contains higher levels of waste than it should, it reacts by quickly shuttling that waste where it will do the least harm: straight into your fat cells. At the same time, your body sends another message: Make more fat cells. These are the storage facilities for the toxins the kidneys haven’t gotten around to processing and eliminating yet, and the more toxins you have, the more fat cells you need.

This also results in cellulite and fat deposits in unwanted places. If you need help with this I really recommend the book of my friend!

Why walking can help!

Eliminating toxins from our system is essential for immunity, optimal health and even weight loss. In our modern lives we have too much stress, lead sedentary lives and get too little exercise. This all leads to a sluggish lymphatic system. However, when you go walking your legs and especially the leg and calf muscles will act as a natural pump that will help to move the lymph fluid throughout your body. So throughout the day get into the habit of walking around regularly and get a significant portion of walking everyday. One hour a day is my recommendation. It is so simple, accessible to everyone, cheap and you can do it everywhere and anytime.

Other tips

There are also other methods against fluid retention. I will sum them up briefly:

  • dry brushing (I use one of my hairbrushes for that: Peach Blossom from Delphin & Emerence)
  • massage of the lymph nodes: in the knee pit and arm pit
  • inversions
  • compression socks

So come with me and take a walk with me. I will see you here again tomorrow for day 3!

Big hug,

Lies Helsloot

P.S. please respect your local or federal laws around social distancing or restrictions around going outside or any other imposed rules. Those rules can save lives! So respect them! Keep your distance!