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Stretching Exercises for Your Joints

How far you can move your joints, also known as your range of motion, is determined by several factors. Two of these are the structures surrounding your joints and their inner workings. The good thing is, doing stretching exercises can help extend your range of motion. These exercises are also beneficial to those with arthritis because they help lubricate the joints.

Whether you’ve done stretching routines for years or you’re just beginning, these five stretching exercises may help strengthen your bones and joints. Follow the steps below for each exercise for proper execution.

1. Chest stretch – aside from different muscle groups, this exercise also targets your elbow, spinal and neck joints.

  • Place your palms at the back of your head.
  • Stretch your elbows back while squeezing with your upper back. You should feel a stretch on your chest near the underarms.
  • Hold this position for 20-30 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise once per set.

2. Hip Flexor Stretch – aside from different muscle groups, this exercise also targets your hip and knee joints.

  • Aim for a lunge with one leg forward, and the other knee bent at the back.
  • The leg at the back can either be straight or bent.
  • Push your hips forward. You should feel a stretch in front of your back thigh.
  • Keep your torso straight up, while keeping your front knee behind your toes.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds on each leg.
  • Repeat this exercise once per set.

3. Shoulder Roll – aside from different muscle groups, this exercise also targets your shoulder and spinal joints.

  • Lift your shoulders up toward your ears. You can lift both simultaneously or do it one shoulder at a time.
  • Then, in a circular motion, slowly move your shoulders down and backwards.
  • Repeat this exercise 5-10 times per set.

4. Toe Touch – aside from different muscle groups, this exercise also targets your toe, hip and knee joints.

  • Place your right leg on a railing or a chair.
  • Keep your left leg straight to achieve a 90-degree angle with your other leg.
  • Lean forward, then touch the toes of your right leg. Avoid bouncing.
  • Switch legs and do the same stretching process.
  • Repeat this exercise 1-2 times per set.

5. Wall Push – aside from different muscle groups, this exercise also targets your elbow, shoulder and spinal joints.

  • Stand about 18 inches away from the wall.
  • Lean forward and push your hands against the wall.
  • Be sure to keep your feet flat on the ground.
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds, and then relax.
  • Repeat this exercise 1-2 times per set.

Exercises courtesy of the American Heart Association

American Heart Association
Harvard Health Publishing
Arthritis Foundation

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