Spring Clean-up Series: Range of Motion
By Laurie Sweig, Special to the Times
Published April 13, 2017
A little while ago I saw this post on a social media site of a guy attempting to touch his toes. It took him 41 days, but he did it. He touched his toes. Can you touch your toes? For the record, I can, but it’s not pretty.
The ability to do a toe touch (while standing) is one example of our body’s range of motion or ROM. It can be defined as the movement potential of a specific joint. That potential can be measured, and medical professionals do measure it. The question is, why is it important? Think back to your childhood. Let the image of you running, jumping, climbing, falling, getting back up, and doing it all over again fill your mind. Chances are you did all of that without a second thought. As we age, we tend to think a lot about how we move. In some case, we avoid movements. Sometimes that is the wise thing to do. But, often we let fear get in the way and that sends us on a downhill journey. It comes back to losing it if we don’t use it.
“Spring is nature’s way of saying let’s party” – Robin Williams
Now is the time to get moving. There are chores to be done at this time of the year and we can get ready for them. Start by attempting to touch your toes. Don’t force it. Just try. Do that every day for a week. Reach down and see how far you get. Be gentle and leave judgment out of the exercise.
Try some other movements. Raise your arms over your head. What does that feel like? Again, be gentle. Or try one of my favourite – spread your fingers apart and bring them back together. Do the same thing with your toes. These are all ROM exercises.
Moving around now in these different ways will decrease the potential of aches and pains of the spring cleanup. Everything is about to wake up after a long winter. We should too.
Something to think about.
Laurie Sweig is a certified personal trainer and spinning instructor. She is one of the founders of The Point for Fitness: www.thepointforfitmess.com.