• Easy Exercises to Improve Joint Mobility

    on Jan 20th, 2018

You want to be able to move your joints through their full range of motion without stiffness or pain. Often, restriction in the surrounding connective tissue, including the tendons, muscles, and ligaments, inhibits movement at your ankles, knees, hips, elbows, and spine.

Becoming more active and targeting these joints with specific exercises helps improve movement at the joints, so you can get back to daily activities without pain and restriction. Try the following easy exercises to help loosen up stiff, achy joints. Perform them in the morning or after sitting for an extended period of time.

Neck Rolls

Neck rolls improve mobility in your neck, which helps you turn your head easily. It can also ease tension and pain in your upper back, shoulders, and head.

While seated or standing, relax your upper body and let your arms hang alongside your hips or rest in your lap. Lower your chin to your chest and slowly roll your right ear toward your right shoulder. Then lift your chin to tilt your face to the ceiling and lower your left ear towards your left shoulder. As you bring your chin back to your chest, you’ve completed one neck roll. Do three to five in each direction. Move slowly through the motion.

Ankle ABCs

You use your ankles to take every step, change direction, and – if you’re an athlete – run and jump. Protect your ankles from injury and keep them working smoothly by drawing the alphabet.

Lie on your back and reach one leg toward the ceiling. Alternatively, sit in a chair and stretch one leg out if front of you and let it hover just above the floor. Use your foot to draw the letters of the alphabet, in order. Don’t worry if the letters look perfect, just move the ankle through circles, straight lines, and the curves of letters. Do one set on each ankle.

Hip Circles

Stiff hips cause pain while walking, getting up from a seat, or even while standing. If you feel off balance, hold onto a wall or sturdy chair as you perform these circles.

Stand and raise your right leg so the thigh is parallel to the floor with the knee bent. With slow, smooth movement, draw circles with your knee, gradually making them larger with each rotation. Perform about 10 circles in each direction before switching legs.

Shoulder Pass Through

Sitting hunched over a computer or smart phone causes tightness in your chest and restriction in the shoulders. Shoulder issues can also develop when you fail to regularly move these joints through a thorough range of motion. Use a broomstick or other long rod to assist you in this easy exercise.

Stand and hold the broomstick with a wide grip, hands placed over the stick. Keep your arms straight as you raise the broomstick up and over your head. Keep your tummy tight to prevent your back from arching too much. Raise the broomstick as high as possible, even allowing it to come slightly behind your head if possible. Hold at the top of your range of motion for a count or two and then release back to the starting position. Repeat about five times.

Knee to Chest

Stiff knees compromise your ability to walk or exercise. Use this easy exercise to mobilize the joint and stretch the muscles of the thigh.

Lie on your back with both legs extended or knees bent and feet planted in front of your buttocks. Draw your right knee into your chest. Hold behind your thigh or in front of your shin to pull it in gently. As your knee and hip mobility improve, you can reach for your ankle and draw the knee in even closer. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, and repeat. Switch legs.

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