By Mary Ann Wilson, RN
Because we use them so frequently, it’s easy to take the healthy mechanics of our shoulders for granted until something goes wrong! The shoulder joint is the most movable, most fragile, and most abused joint in the body. To maintain flexibility, it’s important to take the shoulder joints through a range of motion once a day.
Here are some helpful exercises for shoulder range of motion using a towel, scarf, or necktie. This mini workout was designed for you by Sit and Be Fit TV Host, Mary Ann Wilson, RN.
Let’s start with a simple exercise to warm up the rotator cuff muscles.
• Circle the arm to the side letting all the motion come from the shoulder. Reverse the circle. Repeat with the other arm.
Now you are ready for your shoulder range of motion exercises.
• Hold the towel at each end and tilt it so that the right hand is higher than the left. Move the towel vertically from center – down to the left side-center- and up to the right side, 4 times. Change hand positions so that the left hand is higher than the right. Move the towel vertically again from the center – down to the right side – center and up to the left side, 4 times.
• Put towel in lap and circle arms to the side again to lubricate the rotator cuff muscle.
• Hold the towel at each end again and keep the shoulders relaxed. Take the towel up and behind the head. Lift it up overhead 2 times and down 2 times.
• Hold the towel behind the head and slide it to the right side. Look at the right hand. Then slide the towel to the left side and look at the left hand. Repeat right and left two times.
• Finish by stretching the shoulder. To do this, rest the towel on your lap and walk the fingers of your right hand from the right shoulder blade towards the left shoulder blade, behind your head, as far as is comfortable. The elbow should be pointing up to the ceiling. Hold this position and with your left hand gently pull the elbow towards the left giving an additional stretch. Try and relax the shoulders as much as possible as you stretch and take a deep relaxing breath. Repeat this process on with the other arm.
I hope you’ll make these exercises a part of your daily fitness routine and keep stiffness away!!