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Healthy Aging Tips from Sit and Be Fit's Mary Ann Wilson RN
By Mary Ann Wilson, RN

Strong shoulders begin with flexible shoulder joints. The following exercises will keep your shoulder joints flexible and healthy. These movements can be performed lying down on a bed or floor. You can also adapt them to a standing position by placing your back up against a wall.

Straight Arm Stretch Exercise for the Shoulders

• Lie on your back with knees bent. Feet should be flat on the bed or floor with arms by your side.
• Slowly raise one arm to the ceiling with the palm facing the body. Keep the neck lengthened and try not to lift the shoulder toward the ear.
• Concentrate on keeping the shoulder blades together while keeping both shoulders on the bed or floor.
• Return the arm to the starting position and raise it three more times.
• The last two times continue to raise the arm, according to your comfort level, until it rests above the head.
• Try to touch your thumb to the bed or floor, staying within your own range of motion. If there is any pain, back off.
• Repeat the exercise with other arm.

Two Arm Reaches into “Flags Up” Exercise for the Shoulders

• Lie on your back with knees bent.  Feet should be flat on bed or floor.
• Starting position: arms by your side with palms facing the body.
Raise both arms to the ceiling with palms facing the body.
• Return to starting position. Raise both arms directly overhead keeping the shoulders in contact with the bed or floor.
• Go only as far overhead as comfortable, staying within your range of motion. Repeat several times.
• Return to the starting position.
• The next time, take both arms overhead and bend the elbows, sliding them along the bed or floor until they are in line with your shoulders, creating a “flags up” position. The palms should be facing forward.
• Extend the arms overhead by sliding the elbows back along the bed or floor. Slide the elbows back down into the flags up position and repeat several times.

Related Blogs:

Exercises to Strengthen the Shoulder Rotators with Band

Shoulder Range of Motion Exercises

Recommended DVDs:

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  1. I’m 85 years old and had a total shoulder rotator cup replacement April 23rd. I have alway been active and independent. I was doing well in PT and my range was getting better every week. Unfortunately, four weeks after surgery, I tripped over a pet, fell and broke 3 ribs and had a compressed fracture in my back.
    Needless to say, the pain was intense. I waited a week before returning to PT but the exercises were a strain on my ribs and back, The doctor wanted to continue PT on a more moderate program in fear my shoulder might freeze. I’m trying but still in pain. TODAY, I woke up early (5am) and accidentally found your Sit and be Fit program. (6/28/19 . Luckily, you featured some shoulder exercises I could tolerate Without straining my ribs. I would love to buy this tape since I cannot tape anything on my TV.
    Could you help me? Gratefully yours, Mary Ann

    1. Dear Mary Ann,
      Yes, we would love to help. Is it possible to give us a call, toll-free at 1-888-678-9438, and ask for Gretchen. She will help figure out what episode you saw on June 28th so you can get a copy. As you already know, your recovery will take some time, but slow and steady wins the race. Gentle exercises, like Sit and Be Fit, done regularly will assist in your healing process. Be sure to listen to your body and don’t do anything that hurts. Your range of motion will be limited at first but don’t get discouraged! Let us know how we can help:)

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