Participating in exercise classes or sports can be a real challenge to people with lipoedema, often because it can be so difficult to find suitable clothing and footwear to fit but also because of unkind remarks and lack of understanding of lipoedema from other participants. These remarks may start at school when physical differences start to appear and unkind remarks about size and appearance can be demoralising and hurtful.
Yet, exercising is probably the single most important way to keep active and enjoy life, so it is important to find an exercise routine that works. Keeping active and busy (as opposed to spending too much time on computers or sitting for long periods) all stimulate the lymphatics and promote general good health.
Non-aerobic exercises such as swimming, walking and cycling are especially recommended because they increase lymphatic drainage and improve blood flow through the affected limbs. High impact exercising (i.e. jogging, step-aerobics) or contact sports are better avoided as they may exacerbate join pain and lead to bruising.
Exercising in water is particularly beneficial. It supports painful joints and the pressure of deep water on the legs helps improve lymphatic and venous function. Walking in chest-high water (in a safe place) is especially good because it provides graduated, painless compression to the legs.