Movement keeps you alive. Movement stimulates the circulation of blood which carries oxygen and nutrients to every cell in your body. Without that delivery system, your cells and tissues become stagnant and they begin to operate less efficiently.
Your lymphatic system, which removes cellular waste, dead blood cells and pathogens, relies completely on movement. It’s your internal cleaning service! But lymphatic fluid doesn’t have its own pump like the heart, which pumps blood. Instead it relies on your movement and muscle activity to circulate. As the fluid passes through lymph nodes, the nodes filter out pathogens such as cancer cells. The cleansed lymph then flows upward in your body, toward your neck, where it enters the bloodstream.
In my yoga classes for cancer patients, the kind of movement I emphasize focuses on circulation, instead of movement for strength building. It’s that circulation that moves lymphatic fluids, blood, oxygen and nutrients through your body. Some strength building may be appropriate depending on your condition, but circulation becomes even more important if you become debilitated and/or bedridden. Then even small movements of the arms will stimulate circulation and help move your lymphatic fluid. Flex and point the feet, roll the wrists, wiggle the fingers, shrug the shoulders. Any movement will do!
“I move, therefore I am.”
― Haruki Murakami, 1Q84