A lot of people deal with mobility issues. It’s not just the elderly who are dealing with these problems. A limited range of motion can be seen among injured athletes or people who are not that limber. For anyone dealing with mobility issues, there are ways how you can still stay active without pushing yourself beyond your current capability.
Know Your Limit
The first thing that you want to do is to know your current ROM. How deep can you squat? To what extent can you rotate your joint? Did you just come from surgery? Or maybe, you were inactive for years? These are certain things that can affect your workout.
These are things that you should know. And in most cases, you will need the help of a professional to assess your current situation.
Let go of your ego and start with light weights
A lot of times, ego will prevent you from improving your mobility and range of motion. Imagine yourself not having the ability to do a deep squat but you still put heavy weights on the bar. This is counterproductive in the long run since not only do you not get the full benefits of the exercise, but you also find yourself at risk of injury.
Performing a full range of motion can positively affect hypertrophic adaptation. If you are looking to improve your range of motion, be sure to start with the lightest possible weight first. At times, it means dropping the weights and sticking to your own body weight.
A lot of people doing rehab after surgery typically go for water aerobics. Aquatic exercise has been used not only for people who had their ACL fixed but even for those who had spinal-related injuries. Water is a good way to provide resistance to your muscles but at the same time provide support for your weight. If you’re tired, all you need to do is to just stop and the water will support your weight.
But of course, be conscious of your limitations. You don’t need to do multiple laps in an Olympic-sized pool. You can simply walk around the edge and still get a good workout.
Always Have a Spotter or Use Safety Arms
For people who are dealing with limited mobility, it is always a good idea to consider safety as your priority. Whenever you are going to lift using a bar, be sure that you are going to have a spotter who can assist you when you are having difficulty with your reps. At times, people with limited mobility will recruit different muscles to perform a particular motion, making him or her get tired faster.
If you are alone in the gym, make it a habit to make use of a squat rack’s safety arms. This can come in handy whether you’re doing squats or when you are doing bench press.
Use machines that can help you with movements
Next, if you are dealing with a very limited range of motion, it is sometimes better if you are going to use machines in the gym. This helps you focus on the particular muscle group that you want to train with minimal risk of injury.
Instead of loading plates on a bar doing bench press, you can use a chest press machine instead. This is designed for people who are trying to heal their shoulders.
If you can’t use dumbells to row because you injured your lower back, you can also try using a low-pulley cable bench to do a seated row. This keeps you in an upright position as you focus your movement on working your back.
And for the legs, you have the leg press machine. This workout is perfect for people who have a back injury. It also comes with a safety feature that can catch the weights once you feel it’s too heavy. However, make sure that you are not going to lock your knees. The goal is to maintain tension on your squads the entire time.
Incorporate yoga and regular stretches after every workout
lf you are dealing with tight muscles and you feel stiff on most occasions, it’s about time that you seriously incorporate regular stretches in your daily activities. Stretches can be progressive by design. It’s normal to not have the optimum angle in your stretch during your first try.
Aside from stiff muscles, restricted nerve mobility can also be the reason why you are constantly in pain. Yoga is a great way to address nerve-related pain such as sciatica and carpal tunnel syndrome. Stretches can lessen the irritation on your nerve giving you relief without resorting to pills.
If your limited range of motion originates from an irritated nerve, don’t hesitate to ask a physical therapist’s help. It could be a sign of weakness in some muscle groups.
A lot of people deal with a limited range of motion for several reasons. It could be signs of aging, injury, or simply overuse. A limited range of motion shouldn’t stop you from working out and staying healthy. However, you must know how to make the right adjustment if you wish to stay active. And of course, you might want to talk to the experts if you want to regain complete range of motion.