March 24th, 2020

Healthy Movement

Healthy movement refers to the ability to comfortably engage in regular activities of daily living no matter your age. As a minimum, this includes pain free movement. Healthy movement is important, not only in our daily activities, but also in our physical pursuits such as sports or work performance.

While healthy movement depends on many factors (such as posture, muscle, connective tissue and bone quality, general health, etc.),

as a personal trainer, I focus on my clients' joint health. Joint health includes all joints (ankles, knees, hips, lower back, thoracic spine, shoulders, neck, hands and feet). The most common issues I see are lower back and/or shoulder pain.

In some cases, clients need to correct unhealthy joint issues; in other cases, we work to maintain joint health. This discussion about exercises for healthy joints assumes that physical therapy, chiropractic care and/or medical intervention (for example, knee, hip or shoulder replacement) are not in order.

In the correction of unhealthy joint issues, we consider the various movements (looking for pain, discomfort, clicking, range of movement, quality of movement, etc) that apply for the applicable joint:

1) Flexion, extension, supination and pronation for the hands and feet.
2) Flexion and extension at the knee
3) Flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, internal and external rotation for the hips and shoulders.

It is also important to examine the ability of ball and socket joints (hips and shoulders) to stabilize the limb in the socket. For example, an unstable humerus (arm) in the glenoid fossa (rotator cuff), can lead to shoulder pain and dysfunction.

Note that joint mobility exercises are related but not the same as stretching/flexibility exercises. Mobility refers to movement while stretching refers to the lengthening of muscles and related connective tissue.

I recommend that you incorporate appropriate mobility exercises in your regular routine. Some pointers:

1) Focus first on the joints where there are current issues. Avoid any movements causing pain!
2) Seek out advice from your doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor or personal trainer where appropriate.
3) Find a regular stability and mobility routine designed to keep lower back, hips and shoulders healthy. Expand routine to other joints as appropriate.
4) A regular routine is wise to maintain joint health even if you have no issues.
5) While future articles will give recommendations for exercising for the health of various joints, here's a link to a video of some good examples.
6) This should go without saying: while you can find good mobility exercises on the internet, not all of them are good for you!



Dave Fairhall is a personal trainer who specializes in adult fitness. Working with so many adults with a variety of fitness levels and various health conditions, he has developed a unique perspective of the best ways to exercise and achieve optimal fitness. Dave can be found at the Snap Fitness Facility in Davidson.