April 19, 2024

Range of Motion Essentials by Carol Johnson

Exercise can be broken down into many categories. For example, muscle strength, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility.  A category that is not discussed very often is that of range of motion. The muscles around our bones are able to move from each joint in many directions. This is termed “range of motion.” Range of motion exercises help maintain normal movement making our daily activities easier to complete. While we all may have a difference in range of motion, the ultimate goal for all of us is to keep what we have. Each joint should be moved through it’s range of motion daily to prevent stiffness, deformity and loss of function. While these exercises are useful for everyone, those with arthritis will especially benefit. Those with arthritis should pay attention to the “two hour pain rule.” Defined by the Arthritis Foundation as, if exercise-induced joint pain lasts longer than two hours then too much was done.  One should adjust the intensity and duration of exercise in the next session.

Move each joint through it’s range of motion 5-8 times. Move slowly in a controlled manner and never force the movement.  Remember to stand/sit up tall, keep your abdominals held in tight and breathe normally. Never move into pain unless under a professionals guidance. Please consult your physician before beginning an exercise program and perform exercises at your own risk.


1.  Make a loose fist and then straighten your fingers.
2.  Move your thumb to the base of your pinky and then straighten your thumb.
3.  Circle your wrist one direction then the other.
4.  Bend and straighten your elbow.
5.  Pull your shoulders up towards your ears then lower your shoulders.
6.  Lift and lower your toes, then lift and lower your heels.
7.  Bend and straighten your leg. (move one leg at a time)

1.  Keep your leg straight and touch your toes to the front, side and back.
2.  Lift and lower your knee.

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