Living with lipedema? How a fitness trampoline can change your life.

John Hines 21.08.2021

Exceptional full-body fitness and ultra-gentle performance: the bellicon can help you manage the difficulties of lipedema.

WHAT IS LIPEDEMA?

Lipedema is a condition that causes fat to be distributed unevenly in the body. The areas of the body affected tend to be in the mid-torso and downward, with swelling in the legs, thighs, buttocks, and sometimes it may also affect the upper portion of the arms.

Lipedema, which has often been mischaracterized as a weight control issue, is actually a product of genetic and hormonal factors, affecting 11% of all women.

Early diagnosis and treatment of lipedema are important because the condition may get progressively worse over time. Symptoms may include symmetrical swelling and pain of the legs or arms that worsens throughout the day or skin that feels "spongy," is sensitive to touch, and easily bruises.

Though medical researchers continue to explore the causes of lipedema, they've yet to find a cure, though exercise and diet can be effective at reducing the symptoms.

Unexplained swelling? See your doctor first

If you have recent, unexplained swelling in any part of your body, you should see your doctor or healthcare provider. There are many conditions other than the ones we're addressing that may cause swelling, some of them serious, and only a physician is qualified to address your concerns.

WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT LIPEDEMA?

EXERCISE CAN HELP REDUCE THE SYMPTOMS

Keeping symptoms to a minimum and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are the main challenges with lipedema.

Exercise is perhaps the single most important way that people of every age and fitness level maintain their ability to stay active and enjoy life. Of course, many people have physical challenges that may make it more difficult to exercise, but in the vast majority of those cases, overcoming those difficulties is well worth the effort considering the wealth of benefits that exercise provides.

People with lipedema often find exercise challenging, especially when the symptoms are more pronounced. Many types of sports and workouts can include high-impact exercise, such as jogging, which can be problematic for affected limbs, leading to discomfort and bruising.

THE BELLICON: ULTRA-LOW IMPACT, ULTRA-HIGH BENEFITS

The bellicon is exceptionally well-suited to meet the fitness and health needs of people struggling with lipedema. The bellicon's unique, ultra-elastic suspension system makes every bounce smooth, enjoyable, and incredibly effective at burning fat and calories while dramatically increasing cardiovascular fitness.

For people who need to avoid workouts involving high-impact exercises, the bellicon's gentle performance can serve an important function: allowing them to enjoy the benefits of "vertical, weight-bearing exercise." The term "vertical, weight-bearing exercise" refers to types of workouts that involve the entire body while in an upright position, and it's the type of exercise that is essential for keeping bones strong and preventing osteoporosis. Due to the bellicon's customized bungees and ultra-low impact performance (even compared to other rebounders), the bellicon has helped many people experience this type of bone-building exercise once again.

GRAVITY-FUELED LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE

The bellicon is also unmatched at increasing lymphatic circulation. With each bounce, rebounding exercise engages every muscle in the body, helping lymphatic vessels to operate at full efficiency. Another novel aspect of rebounding is how it uses the waves of gravitational forces generated by bouncing to condition the body, inside and out. These g-forces can be especially helpful in releasing the lymphatic fluid trapped behind the fat deposits created by lipedema, reducing pressure on the affected limbs.

Research published by the Indian Journal of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation demonstrated that rebounding dramatically improves lymphatic drainage for people with lymphedema. After 12-weeks, the people involved in the rebounding portion of the study showed a reduction in their lymphedema by over 50%.

AND, BEST OF ALL, IT'S REALLY FUN!

It's impossible to overstate the importance of enjoying your workouts...and the bellicon is just so much fun to use! (Indoors or out!) This "enjoyability factor" can be crucial for people trying to get back into the habit of exercising. The downside? It's hard to keep friends and family off of it, so be prepared to share. The upside? A few minutes on the bellicon throughout the day will give you everything you need to fight back against the debilitating effects of lipedema while taking your health and fitness to a whole new level.

 

Our Interview with Tina Schwarz - a bellicon trainer with lipedema

Tina Schwarz has suffered from lipedema. lymphedema, and weight issues for years. She is open about these “special effects,” as she calls them, and as a certified nutritionist and weight loss coach, uses her experiences to help people with similar issues. As an outspoken advocate for people with lipedema, she not only wants to draw attention to the disease, but also show people how they can live happier lives in spite of their lipedema. Tina recently became a certified bellicon trainer and is now using what she’s learned to better serve her clients with lipedema.

Tina, in your blog and podcasts you give lots of tips on nutrition, fashion and fitness. Lately you have become more and more interested in the bellicon® mini trampoline. How did you hear about the bellicon? 

I went to an event that showcased a variety of fitness equipment and was asked if I’d like to try the bellicon®. I was pretty disinterested at first and just stood on it and barely bounced. Sitting next to it was one with metal springs for comparison, so I tried it and thought,” Hey, that's like day and night!" I still have the video of it! Actually, I just bounced a little and thought: "Wow, that feels really nice!" While I was there, I tried a few bellicon® models, ordered one, and a few days later I had it at home. I used it a lot in the beginning and then at some point I ran out of ideas and it was just standing around. Then I started using it again with someone I was coaching and soon our group grew to about 20 people who got together every Thursday to bounce.

Have you  noticed positive health aspects for yourself since using the bellicon®?  

Well, I've always enjoyed playing sports, but with the lipedema my weight got up to about 240 lbs, which made that difficult. All I could do was ride a bike or swim, and swimming is uncomfortable when you’re overweight so, ultimately, none of it makes you feel very good. That's why I've always looked for other sports equipment. I didn't buy the bellicon® primarily because of the lipedema, but because I had a lot of fun with it. But I can definitely confirm that many in my course notice that the water retention, i.e. the circumference in their legs, can be reduced. This can sometimes be up to 2 cm less on the legs. A lot happens in the body when you bounce.

You took our online training course for instructors. How was your experience?

The trainer's license at the  bellicon Academy wasn’t my original plan, but I got interested in the details of rebounding. I found it interesting to learn what really going on in the body, approaches to posture, what to focus on, things like that. I did it for myself and also for my coaching participants, so that they know that I really know what I'm talking about.  
Due to the current pandemic, the process of getting my coaching license was done online. I did it in about four weeks, training every day. It was then that I realized how much fitter I had gotten and that my strength and stamina had returned. Balance is a particular issue for many who are overweight and that gets much better with this kind of training.

With my Thursday group, I found that as a layperson, you run out of ideas, but thanks to the training I can always incorporate new concepts and exercises into my courses. I continue to learn new exercises that I can offer that activate and support lymphatic drainage even more.

Leading bellicon classes for people with lipedema, what do you focus on?

In my courses everyone has lipedema or lymphedema, or a mixture of them. Most of them are also overweight, so we often discuss how many calories we’ve been burning.

So in some exercises I burn 620 calories in 50 minutes. This is really crazy and of course the girls notice that, too, and think: “Cool, now I can lose weight again. Another kilo less! ”And of course it’s cool that we get such a great side effect from something that fun to do!

With my lipedema class, I proceed differently than with a typical class jumping training. People with lipedema also tend to be heavy, so the bouncing pace is a bit slower. Everyone should do it at their own pace, but everyone should always make sure that the exercises are performed properly. The intensity of the exercise can always be increased as their fitness advances.

I always try to mix a lot. So we sometimes do strength training exercises, exercises for the stomach or sometimes balance exercises - I always try to incorporate a bit of everything. A class will focus on either cardio or strength, but both are included so there’s something for everyone. 

Which bellicon exercises do you recommend to your participants in your courses?  

There is no such thing as the perfect workout for people with lipedema. I think everyone has to find their own exercise approach, one that they enjoy. Pain is an issue with lipedema when doing exercises directly on a hard surface. With the gentle elasticity of the bellicon®, we can do all exercises painlessly and without problems.

Have you already received feedback from participants who took part in the bellicon training? 

My course participants are all totally happy. After a few weeks of training, many of them often switched from cheaper rebounders to bellicons. And they all comment on the “day and night” difference. So, I always recommend that people invest the money, get a bellicon, and forget training with the cheap steel spring models.

 

IS IT LIPEDEMA, LYMPHEDEMA, OR CELLULITE?

Lipedema, lymphedema, and cellulite have many similarities and are often be confused with one another. Only a physician is qualified to diagnose which of these you may have, but we've listed below some general distinctions between these conditions.

Cellulite: 

Cellulite is a skin condition caused by fat cells pushing against the skin while connective tissue pulls them down, making the skin appear dimpled. Unlike lipedema and lymphedema, cellulite is a purely cosmetic issue and not a medical condition.

Lymphedema:

Lymphedema is caused by blockages in the lymphatic system, preventing lymphatic fluid from flowing, which often produces swelling. Some patients with lipedema can develop lymphedema as their condition worsens (known as lipo-lymphedema), where fat growth blocks the lymphatic flow. Unlike lipedema, lymphedema is as common in the arms as it is in the legs and often affects areas that lipedema doesn't, such as the hands and feet. Also, lymphedema may occur in just one leg or arm, whereas lipedema always progresses evenly on both sides of the body.

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