What Is Range Of Motion & How To Increase It


As individuals age, they might realize that their hips, knees, and shoulder do not move like they are accustomed to. In the past, the individual could bring their knee to their chest. Now they are lucky if they even get it halfway there. Maybe there was an injury and the individual notice that they are unable to move in the same way they once could. Such issues come down to the individual’s range of motion. An issue that personal trainers, orthopedists, and physical therapists handle on a regular basis. This article will highlight what individuals need to know about the range of motion and give some methods to begin improving it.

What Is Range Of Motion

Range of motion is considered to be how much and to what degree a joint is able to move. The range of motion for every joint is dogged by ligaments and muscles. These are the soft tissue structures surrounding the joint as well as the restrictions of the joint itself. In many situations, individuals confuse range of motion with flexibility, or they incorrectly interchange the two terms. They are connected; however, they are not the same thing.

Flexibility is denoted by the specific ability of connective tissue, tendon, and muscle to elongate or lengthen via a range of motion. Flexibility and stretching play a significant role in enhancing the range of motion.

Active versus Passive Range Of Motion

There are chiefly two types of range of motion, those are active and passive. The majority of the movements individuals make on an everyday basis are active. Passive range of motion is more commonly associated with training or medical settings. Where a professional is assessing a specific joint or treating an individual, for instance, a trainer stretching an athlete.

Active range of motion is considered the movements that individuals make. According to medical professionals, it is when individuals use the muscles around a particular joint to solely power the movement of that joint. An example would be an individual actively raising their arm placing it above their head.

Passive range of motion is thought of as movement that is assisted. The body is not actively powering the movement of the muscle, it is being helped. According to medical experts, it is when the power of the movement of the joint derives exclusively from an external source. For instance, when a physical therapist during a treatment, moves a joint. Meaning to say that the individual allows their arm to go limp and another person must raise it above their head for them. This is considered to be a passive range of motion.

Active-Assist Range Of Motion

Even though, passive and active range of motion is the main kinds. There is a third kind of range of motion referred to as active-assist. According to medical experts, this is when the movement of the joint is powered partly by an external source and partially by the individual’s own muscles. For instance, if an individual lifts their arm and another individual is gently applying force by guiding the arm up simultaneously. This would be considered an active-assist range of motion. Another instance of active-assist would be an individual utilizing a resistance strap to aid in stretching their hamstring.

How To Improve Range Of Motion

There are three main ways individuals could work to enhance their range of motion all by themselves. In the event that they do not notice any progress, or notice that they need expert advice. The decision to consult with an orthopedic physician or physical therapist is always an excellent choice.

Stretch Everyday

According to experts, the optimum way to improve range of motion is to consistently stretch. If individuals consider how much time they spend sitting on the couch or in chairs, a daily effort is required, preferably. It is needed in order to counteract such effects. Select a consistent time during each day to stretch, such as when you get out of bed initially. Stretches could be concentrated in a specific region that needs improving. Therefore individuals may stretch their neck, shoulders, or hips.

Remain Generally Active

Active motion is always key to bettering the range of motion. It is vital to follow up stretching with active motion in order to maintain the enhancement developed by stretching exercises. For example, an individual may use a doorway stretch to stretch their rotator cuff muscles. Then it is followed up with exercises that engage those specific muscles. Such as light dumbbells or reverse fly with a resistance band. In the event that it is the hip range of motion being worked on. An individual may stretch the hamstrings, as in touching their toes. Or stretch their glutes by doing a figure four stretches, then this is all followed up by performing squats.

Reduce Stress

Stress results in muscle tension, tightness, and knots. It might be easier said than it is done, but doing what can be done to reduce stress could always help. One possible technique to distress is receiving a deep tissue massage. This could be an excellent follow-up to working out and has several astonishing benefits.


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