Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bouncing Off Cellulite

May 10th, 2011
Rebounding moves sluggish lymph.
While the circulatory system carries nutrients, oxygen, and hormones to our cells, the lymphatic system is the body’s garbage disposal.

Its mesh-like network of tiny vessels transports lymph (fluid) from around the cells through the lymph nodes, where waste products are filtered out, unhealthy cells are trapped, and bacteria are destroyed. As it moves through the body, lymph also pulls fat out for transport to the liver. Protein and carbohydrates are left behind to travel via the bloodstream to nourish the body. To keep lymph moving, your body depends on the movement of your arms and legs—along with massage and deep breathing—since the lymphatic system has no pump (like the heart) of its own.

When the lymphatic system isn’t working properly, fluid accumulates around cells, which, in some cases, can result in up to fifteen pounds of excess weight. This fluid prevents nutrients from entering cells, depriving them of the nourishment they need. Stagnant fluid that accumulates in your legs can bind to fat cells that become swollen—resulting in cellulite and varicose veins.

So, what does this have to do with exercise?

A lot.

Without an internal pump to move lymph along, the system depends on your muscle movement. One of the best ways I’ve found to exercise the lymphatic system is the daily use of a rebounder or mini-trampoline. No matter where you live, you can exercise the lymphatics by bouncing on a rebounder for five to twenty minutes a day.

The mini-trampoline has proven to be one of the most efficient—yet least harmful— forms of exercise. A high level of cardiovascular fitness and toning results from regular bouncing every day. The low-impact rebounding acts to gently move waste materials in the lymph. In fact, the vertical motion of rebounding on a mini-trampoline or “rebounder” is the single best way to cleanse the lymphatic system because the up and down jumping motion parallels the way lymph nodes function, opening and closing vertically.

Your cells get a deep squeeze from all that bouncing, which helps move toxins out. No other exercise that I know of yields the dimple-dashing, cellulite-slashing benefits regular rebounding offers. It is virtually the “excuse-proof exercise” because it can be done anywhere year round.

Since rebounding is a form of cardio exercise, I always suggest that you start slowly. Bounce for only five minutes at a time—without your feet leaving the rebounder—then work up a little bit each day until you are jumping for twenty minutes. You will find that the light pressure on the thighs powerfully activates lymphatic drainage. Within two weeks, legs, buttocks, and ankles are better toned and fatty cellulite deposits begin to disappear.

The advantage of the mini-trampoline is its universality. It can be used by people of all ages, in all stages of life. Even physically-impaired individuals who cannot walk can sit on it or put their feet on it while someone else is bouncing and still receive lymphatic benefits. For a more strenuous workout, simply bounce faster and lower.

Of all the rebounders I have tried, I really like ReboundAIR—founded by Olympian and inventor, Al Carter—for the line’s quality, portability, and safety. Without a doubt, rebounding has made a major comeback from its heyday in the ’70s with more efficient and streamlined rebounders. Mine folds up so I can take it anywhere.

-Edge On Health, Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman