Range of Motion Exercises and How They Benefit You

You may have heard of range of motion exercises before but what are they really and how do they benefit you?

Range of motion exercises are performed to help maintain mobility and flexibility to help improve joint function. Range of motion is how far you are able to move your joints in different directions.  These exercises help you to gently move each joint through its full range of motion.  Regularly moving your joints can help reduce pain, keep your joints flexible, and improve strength and balance.

Benefits of Range of Motion Exercises

Range of motion exercises are designed for you if you’ve suffered a joint injury, have experienced any pain in relation to movement, or underwent surgery.  There are a number of health issues that may contribute to limited range of motion which include:

  • Arthritis
  • Sports injuries
  • Post-surgical healing
  • Swelling
  • Problems with body mechanics
  • Inflammation
  • Muscle spasms
  • Infection

If muscles and joints remain inactive for a certain period of time they can deteriorate over time and your range of motion will decrease.  Here are 7 benefits of range of motion exercises:

  1. Improves Circulation
  2. Improves Muscle Strength
  3. Maintains Flexibility
  4. Reduces Pain
  5. Enhances Physical Performance
  6. Reduces Stiffness
  7. Decrease Injury Potential

Your physical therapist will examine you to see if you have limited motion and will determine if the cause is pain, muscle tightness or tightness of ligaments or tendons. There are various types of range of motion exercises that will be more effective for different people.  Remember that your daily activities like climbing the stairs, doing the dishes, taking a shower, lifting, cooking or bending do not move your joints through their full range of motion. It’s important to work together with your physical therapist to improve your flexibility and range of motion over time with three types of exercises: passive, active and active assistive.

While range of motion exercises aren’t incredibly difficult to learn, it is very important that they be done properly. Always consult your physical therapist before starting new exercises.

Want to learn how to get the most out of your physical therapy? Here are 3 helpful tips!

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