Reclaiming Your Range of Motion: Physical Therapy for Seniors

Range of motion can naturally deteriorate as age progresses because of a loss of bone density and joint stiffness. Arthritis can also be a factor for losing range of motion. Fortunately, even if you have had trouble with flexibility for a while, it is never too late to reclaim your range of motion with physical therapy. Physical therapy will gauge your range of motion before and after exercise. Physical therapy will teach you that stretching is the single best way to reclaim your range of motion. By loosening up stiff joints, you will become much more flexible. While there are many stretches and exercises that you will learn in physical therapy, here are a few exercises you can use at home to improve your range of motion.



Sit-to-stand exercises are often used to help improve flexibility in the hips, knees and ankles. You’ll start by sitting in a chair, with your feet flat on the floor, then use your legs to stand up. Then, sit down and repeat the exercise. Repetition will greatly help strengthen and flex your lower body.



Heel-to-toe exercises can help with mobility while sharpening the precision of your movements. This simple exercise is done by walking one foot in front of the other, literally heel to toe, for about 10 paces. Turn around and repeat. You can even do this exercise with the aid of walking canes at, so you stay on balance.


Arm Strength

Another great range of motion exercise that can be done at home helps your upper body strength and flexibility. Start by sitting in a chair, with your hands held together above your head. Then very slowly lower your hands, still together, in front of your chest. Repeating this exercise can help fine tune the mobility of your arms.


Use Warm-Ups

When starting a new exercise regimen, you should start slow to allow your body time to adjust. Make sure you are warming up before your main exercises by using a variety of calisthenics to slowly raise your heart rate and body temperature. Marching in place and rising on your toes are both great ways to properly warm up and help your muscles, ligaments, and tendons become more elastic.


The key to improving your range of motion with physical therapy is regular exercise. Physical therapy orients you with exercises aimed at improving your range of motion, and you’ll be able to use these exercises regularly at home. Before you start physical therapy or a new exercise, talk to your doctor to make sure you are physically up to a new routine.