Range of Motion in Older Adults
Range of Motion in Older Adults. Range of motion is how well someone can move the joints in their body. Most people lose some range of motion as they get older. Some reasons for this are tight muscles, injury, pain, arthritis, or lack of activity.
Often older adults do not know how much range of motion they’ve lost until it is hard to do things like walk, shower, get dressed, or cook.
Less range of motion makes it more likely a person will fall and get hurt. The best way to protect a range of motion is to keep moving, even when it is hard.
What do joints do?
Joints, such as hips, knees, and elbows, are very important for a range of motion. Joints connect and cushion bones with tissue and fluid. As people age, their joints can lose fluid and tissue. This can cause pain and stiffness.
Motion is like lotion for joints. Movement helps to “grease” the joints, which makes it easier and less painful to move. This is why joints may feel stiff after a long car ride, and move better after a long walk.
Causes of a low range of motion in the elderly
Lack of range of motion can be caused by a number of things. But mechanical failures in the joint, swelling of the tissue around the joint, muscle spasticity, illness or old age are the most common reasons.
Effect of age on a range of motion in older adults
As we age, bones tend to shrink in size and density. This makes them weaker and more likely to break.
Diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis, which cause our joints to stiffen and lose strength and flexibility, are more common in older people. So as you get older, your range of motion gets a lot smaller if you don’t know how to take good care of your joints.
Protect the ability to move
The best way to keep a range of motion is to be active every day. It is important to try new activities so the body is challenged. Everyone ” young and old ” should do activities that improve strength, flexibility, and balance. Lifting weights or doing yoga can help build strength. Yoga or Tai chi (pronounced tie chee) can help with balance.
Many people do not stretch enough when they exercise. To prevent injury, stretching should be done after exercising when the muscles and joints are warm. Slowly move into a stretch and hold the position for about a minute. Stay still and try not to bounce when in a stretch because it can cause an injury. Stretches may be hard, but should never be painful.
Walking is a great exercise for older adults. Try walking at a shopping mall. Malls are safe places to walk, even when the weather is too hot or too cold. For those who can’t walk, some exercises for range of motion can be done while lying in bed or sitting in a chair or wheelchair.
Improve range of motion
If an older adult has lost some range of motion, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor before starting new exercises. The doctor will be able to check for problems in the muscles, joints, or brain that may limit motion. The doctor may refer the person to physical therapy. They also may know about local programs to help older adults improve their movement and fitness.
Basically, we have six types of exercises to increase the range of motion:
Type 1: Head and neck exercises.
Type 2: Shoulder and elbow exercises.
Type 3: Exercises forearms and wrists.
Type 4: Hand and finger exercises.
Type 5: Hip and knee exercises.
Type 6: Ankle and foot exercises.
Experts say that most people should do these exercises at least twice a day. If you have lost some joint movement and want to get it back, you should do the exercises more often and for longer each time.
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