Exercising when you have lipoedema is difficult. Your legs get in the way, they’re heavy, you might be embarrassed to show your legs wearing leggings, if you can find any to fit .But I can assure you that as you get older with this condition, strength and fitness will be your best friend.
Sometimes even moving with lipoedema is hard enough, but it’s probably one of the most important things you can do, not just for your legs but also for your mental health and wellbeing. I know how hard it is to get motivated and stay motivated, for the first year after I changed over to the ketogenic way of eating I never changed any of my fitness habits ,well to be honest I never had any habits to change, I was mostly a coach potato because everything hurt so much, it was all too much effort and I couldn’t see the point as I had been told lipoedema was diet and exercise resistant so I just had to accept my fate, even if that was being a wheelchair user because my legs were getting to big to carry me. But one day something changed, the anti inflammatory nature of low carb had removed a lot of my pain, I had loads more energy so I was happy to be up and moving rather than sitting down. A lot of my non lippy fat had gone 5 stone of it , and while I was not beach ready, I was feeling better about everything, so with a friend I joined a circuits class run by a friend of my daughters. I felt she would understand my difficulties and hopefully be able to use her skills as a personal trainer to give me some easier variations.
For over a year I attended the class every week I walked my way through the warm up while everyone else jogged and jumped, I did easier versions of almost all the moves at each station and discovered some things that really suited me. It turns out that underneath this horrible fatty layer is a pair of very strong legs, when you think about it they have to be to have supported me all this time.
Don’t get me wrong, after nearly 5 years of regular exercise I wouldn’t say I’m fit, fitter definitely, more muscle absolutely, but I don’t look much different to the picture I took after my first year when I had lost 5 stone, but that doesn’t matter. I know what I am doing is for the long term benefits of my health, I still whinge (a lot) about every training session and I’m not sure I have ever felt the buzz that people talk about. The penny has dropped, I am ,and forever will be a work in progress and that’s fine by me. While I hope everything I try will have some effect of my lipoedema fat, I realise that the people who know more than me say it is resistant to diet and exercise for a reason and I have made some peace with the fact that I will be judged for the way I look
Getting Started-easy does it
Crab walks are a great way to challenge the inner and outer thighs, they can be done anywhere anytime. Usually these are done with a resistance band around your thighs, this is impossible due to the pain of lipoedema, so the band can go around your shoes. Then simply walk sideways moving one foot at a time, stretching the band as much as you can before bringing the other foot to meet it. You can then start to move diagonally forwards and backwards.
Resistance bands come in different strengths, in the picture i am using a band I was given for physio , but they are inexpensive to buy and usually come in a set of 5 different strengths allowing you to improve. Anything stretchy will do to get started- old tights anyone?