“Miles and Miles of Heart…”

by | Aug 6, 2020

How ’bout those Damn Yankees? I wrote in KABOOMER, referring to proper “conversational” levels of exertion in which to build stamina for stayin’ alive.

Miles and Miles of Heart is one of the great lines in DAMN YANKEES’ song HEART. You may have also heard its “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets”…

I never saw DAMN YANKEES on Broadway or on our tiny black and white television set when I was in my formative years. I may have read or seen other “sell your soul to the Devil” sagas since then. I was a METS fan in my youth. Loved the Yankee Pinstripes and legends of the Bronx Bombers, and I loved to hate ’em. And, you may have picked up my affinity for George “Yogi” Berra, for his philosophies (which I rank up “there” with Mae West’s) and for his distinguished naval service. Yogi won many accolades, and said many wonderful things before he passed at age 90, though one of his most impressive to me was a Purple HEART.

San Diego’s legendary “Colonel” Jerry Coleman was another DAMN YANKEE in playing times after distinguished military service. “YOU CAN HANG A STAR ON THAT ONE.” Another Yankee with HEART, a very big HEART.

Miles and Miles, as in about 60,000 miles (!) of circulatory “pipes” through which our left ventricles drive nutrients and return waste. AND Mile and miles of complementary lymphatic “pipes” which circulate ~ 3 liters (!) of “clear water” – hopefully clear as the Greek word is defined. Lymph comprises ~ 95% water, fats, white blood cells (aka lymphocytes), 300+ waste proteins which are generated in activity and exercise. Miles and Miles…

Scintillating Trivia for our amazing bodies: 1. At their smallest “inlets”, interstitially near veins of the “other” circulatory system, lymph pipes are 1/10th the width of a human hair. Trivia point #2 Our brain has a separate unique “drainage system. #3 Our bodily lymph fluids ONLY circulate with gravity, muscular motion, massage or stimuli – cause there ain’t no left ventricle for this “underlooked” complement to our cardio-vascular system. #4. Some folks assert that a Lymphatic system “DETOX” may equate to a quick loss of FAT – in this case re-cycled circulating fats and fatty acids – UP to a POUND – shed with diet and “accupressure” or massage. #5. Our Spleens are the largest organs of our lymphatic circulatory system. And #6 – Our amazing main circulatory system is about 15% INefficient by evolutionary design. This 15% blood seepage from our tiniest pipes migrates across interstitial regions to be accepted for lymphatic circulation. Lossy by design… Yet what happens when design flaws in these miles and miles of circulation arise and edema or swelling occur? When fluids don’t flow – to Lymphedama a client might go!

Lymphedema Clinics are becoming more common. My own mum-in-law visited her Clinic many times to have a therapist get her sludgy fluids headed north from swollen ankles and legs. Her fluid was both low and more resembled thick brake fluid than clear and slick 5-30 “oil.”

The MAYO CLINIC reminds us that “EXERCISE may help” with unfortunate swelling. Born to Be Boomers offers a fine reference article about managing chronic lymphatic swelling which is called lymphedema. Nutrition and lifestyle changes – particularly exercise to pump / drain lymphatic fluids are key.

What should KOACHes like me recommend to our older clients to minimize [episodic or chronic] swelling of their lymph glands and limbs?

We want to “pump it up” as we used to laugh at Hans and Franz on Saturday Night Live. we want and need to stimulate circulation in four (4) bodily regions. Lymph vessels and glands extend to our lower legs, yet working these 4 areas below also help those vessels get drained adequately.

  1. Neck and Head (along our jaws)

2. Axillary (Armpit / breast region on each side of our trunk). If we have swollen glands – we normally sense them first in our neck and armpit regions. Personal episode: When I was recovering from a malignant skin cancer on my calf, my dermatologist was keen to check my inguinal lymph glands for swelling and had sonograms done. All clear this time. Note – be proactive with self-checking your lymph glands.

3. Abdomen (remember our lymphatics need LIVER and SPLEEN connectivity)

4. Inguinal (Groin).

Note: YOUTUBE and Doctor Google offer very useful exercise routine videos which I’ll summarize.

Start from the neck and head region to address clogged lymph nodes or swollen tissue. Good old turtle neck and side to side neck stretches are great beginning moves. Pardon my lack of Sanskrit, yet celebrate several YOGA moves which stimulate or “tune up” your circulatory lymphatic fluid system. Some of those Sanskrit asanas are offered in figures below.

The Lion’s Breath is one such yoga move to enjoy and leverage! Many of these Flexible Stretch Moves can become resistance moves with resistance bands,light dumbbells or kettlebells used.

Stimulating your axillary lymph areas, a Scratch test “opens up” the armpit and shoulder areas.

Then, raise one arm to expose your distal (side) ribs. Use your opposite side’sthumb and forefinger to reach/tap each outer ribs 2 times, proceeding downward and upward like an accordion. REpeat on your othere side.

Then, to continue working your Axillary flows; stand tall and raise arms overhead and lock fingers. Lean Torso slowly to each side (10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions)as you breathe mindfully, then return to an upright position Repeat this Side Stand Move (with light weights overhead as an option).

And then enjoy Half or Full Forward Fold moves – hands laced behind your back with arms kept straight as an option.

Abdominal and Inguinal Lymph Stimulation:

Your Koach likes Table Tops with a single leg raise option to get or keep lymph fluids headed upward

Give Wide-Legged Forward Bends a go, too!

Getting Grounded, let’s close with three other stretches which aid our muscles and gravity to keep our LYMPH flowin’

  1. Happy Baby – with rocking chair and tick-tock/side-to-side rolls
  2. Knees to Chest Pose, and
  3. Supported Shoulder Raise or Leg Raise against wall:

Please add these stretching/breathing and resistance moves to your arsenal to help keep your mile and miles of Lymph circulation great. Your immune system and your wellness will be beneficiaries!

Koach Dave


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