Active Aging: Why ‘Range of Motion’ Is So Important

by admin on December 16, 2010

Typical health and fitness images in the past showed young, athletically inclined people being enthusiastically trained by young, beautiful trainers.   All this focus on the young and the beautiful…blachhh!  Not so anymore – ‘active-agers’ are rebranding aging.  It’s no longer seen as a disease, but as an opportunity to embrace and take full advantage of life.

To get started on your rebranding a tune-up of sorts may be necessary.  Many activities require nothing more than having a full active range of motion in all your joints and a little willpower.

So what’s the connection between aging and active range of motion?  Registered massage therapists view active range of motion as a cornerstone of pain-free activity.  Not only for activities of daily living like reaching up to get something out of the cupboard or to comb your hair, but also to golf, play tennis, go for a long walk or ride your bike in a Gran Fondo.  Without full active range of motion, you won’t be able to engage your muscles properly, resulting in abnormal movements which will lead to dysfunction.  As we age, our active range of motion [AROM] naturally becomes more restricted.  The changes occur incrementally and often we don’t even notice that we can no longer twist or reach like we used to.

Each joint in your body has an ideal range through which it should be able to move for full function.  Even a small loss of mobility will eventually lead to pain and discomfort.  The great news is that it’s not that difficult to keep your joints fully mobile.  My job as your RMT is to assess the existing range of motion in your joints and then by using ‘joint mobilization’ and ‘muscle energy’ techniques, restore you to full AROM.  Benefits include more flexibility, a stronger neural response from your muscles, promotion of healing, and decreased onset of muscle soreness.  You’ll be able to engage more fully in the activities that you once loved, or new activities you now feel confident that you can take on.

Even better, once full active range of motion has been restored it’s pretty easy to maintain with some simple exercises that can be performed quickly at home – no fancy equipment required.   If you’re interested in getting back to doing the things you once loved, or even trying a few new ones, give me a call at Bayswater and I’ll get you started.

My best,

Heather Scheibal, RMT


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