Lymph nodes are a part of your immune system. The immune system protects you from infection and other diseases. It includes your spleen, bone marrow, thymus, tonsils, adenoids, the lymph channels and the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are in the neck, behind the ears, under the jaws and chin, under the armpits and in the groin. Exercise is a key factor for the proper function of the lymph nodes and the circulation of the lymphatic fluid throughout the body.
Functions of the Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes are rounded masses of lymphatic tissue encapsulated in a connective tissue. They play important functions in helping your immune system defend your body against diseases. Lymph nodes filter lymphatic fluid, and produce and store white blood cells. A tender, swollen lymph node is usually a sign of infection. It also means that the lymph nodes are working harder to produce more white cells to defend against the infection.
Lymphatic Fluid Circulation
Lymphatic fluid circulates through the lymph vessels that pass between the muscles of your body. Unlike the heart that pumps blood through the blood vessels, lymph vessels are blind-ended. They travel in only one direction and have no pump to move and circulate lymph throughout the body. Instead, lymph vessels are squeezed by your muscles when you move. Therefore, exercise plays a vital role in lymphatic fluid circulation.
Effects of Exercise
Exercise has many benefits, including stimulation of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system depends on physical activity to circulate the lymphatic fluid throughout the body, and collect and help the body eliminate toxins and other waste products. Vigorous exercise and actions such as coughing, sneezing and abdominal contractions on forceful exhalation will aid the flow of lymphatic fluid.
Exercises to Improve Lymphatic Circulation
Any form of exercise, such as walking, climbing stairs, swimming, running, dancing or playing tennis, will stimulate the lymphatic system and improve the lymphatic circulation. Deep breathing exercises will benefit the flow of lymphatic fluid because of the pressure deep breathing creates in the chest and abdominal cavities along with the contractions of the diaphragm and abdominal muscles.