To me swimming is the definition of freedom for a person dealing with lymphedema; is it just you and the water, no compression stockings, no bandages, simply you fighting to move forward in the water.

I myself do two different kinds of swimming; open water and in an indoor pool, with open water swimming having the best effect on my legs. Even swimming just a few hundred metres in open water can be seen on my measurements afterwards, but swimming in an indoor pool has quite a good effect of getting my lymph fluids flowing as well.

My best advice in relation to swimming and lymphedema would be to

  1. swim in the manner you know how to. It does not have to be more than breaststroke for a few lanes.
  2. try to challenge yourself and your body (and your lymphedema). If you only know how to swim breaststroke, try learning backstroke or crawl. In the long run your legs will get more challenged by swimming backstroke or crawl and it can possibly do a lot of good in relation to your lymphedema.
  3. swim using programmes if you easily get bored by just swimming back and forth in the same rhythm all the time. By swimming based on a program you will challenge yourself more, get your pulse up and have the opportunity to get into really great shape.
Swimming programs

I always use programmes when I swim. This contributes to challenging me more and to get an even greater exercise out of it.

I have put up some of my programs down below. You can take a look and see if you would like to swim using these programs or you can let the programmes inspire you to making your own programs that suit the level you are on.

Shorter programs: 

Swimming program – Focus: Medium length series


Mixed swimming styles:

Swimming program – Mixed styles


Crawl programs: 

Swimming programs – Crawl



Would you find it interesting to be part of an international open water-swimming community for people with lymphedema? Then you can consider joining The Sealymphies.