Reviewed by Ross Brakeville on February 24, 2014

Sources

Kelley Warner, PT, DPT, OCS

© 2014 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

WebMD Archive

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

KELLEY WARNER: As we age, it's important to maintain the health of our joints. I'm going to show you five great exercises. If you experience pain at any point in time while performing these exercises, make sure you contact your health care professional.

This exercise is called the Reach and Roll. It's great for the mobility of your upper back, your ribs, and your shoulders.

We're first going to start by lying on your side with your knees bent up toward your chest. The arms will be stacked up on top of each other at about shoulder height.

You'll begin by reaching forward with the top arm, internally rotating the arm, bringing the thumb down towards the ground, and if possible, the palm will face the ceiling. Then, we'll unwind the arm and reach up towards the ceiling, rotating the torso towards the opposite side.

The goal is to try and bring the shoulder blade down towards the ground. Also, make sure the knees don't pop up. You want to try and keep them together.

Come back to your starting position, unwinding, and bringing the arms back on top of each other. You'll want to repeat this exercise 10 times. Then switch to the other side, and again, repeat for 10 repetitions.

This next exercise is called Prone Windshield Wipers and is excellent for your hip joints. We're going to begin by lying on your stomach. You're going to rest your forehead in your hands. We're then going to bend the knees. The knees should be about hip-distance apart.

You'll slowly begin to open up the feet out to the sides as far as you can and then bring them back in. We're going to perform this about 10 times.

Then we're going to widen the knees wider than the hips. This time we're going to let the feet cross in front of each other. Open back up, and then switch, letting the opposite foot come in front.

You're going to alternate back and forth about 10 times. Over time, you should notice an improvement in your range of motion and control of your hips.

This exercise is called Pelvic Clocks. You're going to imagine there's a clock resting on your pelvis. We're first going to begin from 12 down to 6. Then we're going to go from 3 to 9. Then clockwise around the circle and counterclockwise in the opposite direction.

First, we're going to begin at the 12 o'clock position. We're going to take the pelvis and rotate it back, lowering and flattening the low back towards the floor. Then for 6 o'clock, we're going to rotate the pelvis forward arching the back up off the floor. We're going to go back and forth between 12 and 6 o'clock, loosening up the low back and hips.

Then for 3 and 9 o'clock, we're going to drop the left pelvis down towards the floor, letting the right pelvis gently lift off the floor. Nine o'clock, we'll switch to the opposite direction lowering the right hip down to the floor, lifting the left hip up off the floor. We're going to go back and forth between 3 and 9 o'clock.

Now, we're going to go around the entire clock. We're going to start at 12 o'clock. Then we're going to sweep around to 1, 2, and 3, down to 4, 5, to 6, around to 7, 8, and 9, and all the way back to 12 o'clock.

Let's do that again. We're going to go all the way around, rotating the pelvis in a nice, smooth fashion. Next, we're going to go counterclockwise. Again starting at 12 o'clock, we're going to sweep around to 9, down to 6, over to 3, and back up to 12. This exercise is great for the low back and hip joints.

This next exercise is a Quad Stretch. It's excellent for the hip and knee joints. Make sure you have a sturdy surface in front of you to hold onto for balance. Go ahead and place a hand on the chair, bring the right knee up toward your chest, and try and grab hold of either the shin or the ankle. As you do this, make sure the torso stays upright.

You want to pull back on the foot to feel a stretch in the front of your quadriceps. Make sure that the knee stays as close in towards the other knee as possible. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

Then come back to your starting position, and you'll switch sides. Again, hold the stretch 30 seconds. You'll repeat three times on each side.

This next exercise is called Calf Raises. It's excellent for ankle strength, flexibility, and balance. We'll begin by stepping up onto a step. Slowly inch your heels off the edge of the step.

From here, keeping the knees straight, we're going to lift the heels up as high as you can. Then slowly lower the heels back down as far as you comfortably can. As you do this exercise, you'll want to be sure you're holding onto a railing or a wall for balance.

To make this exercise more challenging, you can perform it on one leg only. If you decide to do this, you're going to bend one knee, taking the foot off the edge of the step. From here, you'll perform the exercise the same way, keeping the knee straight, lifting up with the heel, and lowering back down.

You'll perform the exercise 20 times. If you choose to do it on one leg only, make sure you perform it on both sides.

I've just shown you five great exercises for your joints. Performing these on a consistent basis should help you maintain mobility and strength.