Mobilising your joints
Most older adults have some degree of osteoarthritis or cartilage degeneration in their joints – notably wrists, fingers, knees, hips and spine. When you are feeling sore and stiff it is very tempting to keep painful joints in the one position that causes least discomfort, usually bent.
However this is very much a ‘Catch 22’ as doing so for too long can cause further loss of mobility and hinder everyday activities even more. By taking joints through full range-of-motion in a controlled manner you will help to preserve as near normal function as possible.
A daily habit
Aim to mobilise your joints every day – at least 2-3 times will be very beneficial. Certainly doing mobilization exercises first thing in the morning when joints are particularly uncomfortable will help you get moving more quickly.
There is nothing particularly complicated about taking your joints through a full range-of-motion. Slowly move them in all the directions they are capable of moving in – circles, forwards and back, straightening and bending normally covers it all.
Try this “first thing” sequence
Whilst still lying in bed on your back, draw one knee up towards your chest. Clasp your knee or if you can’t reach that hold the back of your leg. Rotate your ankle in a circle for 4 and then point and pull back your toes so that you are flexing and extending the ankle joint. Slide that leg back to the bed and do it on the other side. Repeat 4-6 times. The leg movement will help with hip and knee mobilisation.
Once sitting on the edge of your bed – do a few shoulder rotations backwards and gentle head turns to mobilise your neck.
Bring your hands into the action by making a fist and then a starburst action several times.
Once you are standing – mobilise your spine with some side bends and slow hula hooping. i.e. circle your hips.
Finally reach up towards the ceiling with alternate arms a few times and finish with your hands in the small of your back whilst opening up your chest – image a smile across your chest.
Now replicate that with one for real and spring into your day!
Did you miss PART 1? Read it here.
Watch out for more great exercise and lifestyle tips from Kris Tynan next month.