Interested in being able to move through life more freely and easily and without pain? Mobility exercises can help maintain healthy joints and increase or maintain range-of-motion and flexibility which support our daily routine and athletic activities.
For example, good ankle mobility can help improve our balance, which may lead to fewer falls. Hip joint mobility also helps our balance and stability. Good mobility of the thoracic spine, or the middle back, supports movement of our arms up and overhead, like when we lift something to the top of a shelf, and our ability to turn side to side, like when we twist to grab something from the back seat of a car.
Mobility exercises involve gentle movements, such as straightening and bending the arms at the elbow joint, or rolling your shoulders forward, up, back and down. These exercises can be done quickly and easily, in a small space, sitting in a chair, and without any equipment. You can do one exercise at a time or put them together into a full body mobility session. It is important to listen to our body throughout the exercise. Reflecting and bringing awareness to your physical body before, during, and after movement activities can help prevent adverse events or injury.
Join Therapeutic Yoga instructor Alison Whitehead, MPH, registered yoga teacher (RYT), in this chair-based joint mobility session and see what you think.
If you are interested in learning about other ways to move your body and don’t know where to start, you may be interested in this handout: “Get Moving: Adding Physical Activity into Your Routine”: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/veteran-handouts/docs/GetMoving-Final508-07-12-2018.pdf
Looking for information on physical therapy? Check out the Physical Therapy section of the Veterans Health Library: https://www.veteranshealthlibrary.va.gov/rehab/PhysicalTherapy/
Mobility or range-of-motion exercises are just one form of moving the body. Find out how to use Whole Health to work your mind and soul, too: https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTH/circle-of-health/index.asp.
*This blog has been edited. The previous version has the incorrect video and featured image.
Alison M. Whitehead, MPH is the acting director for the Integrative Health Coordinating Center in the VHA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation.