Have you heard of someone complaining of tired legs, aching ankles or stiffness, while getting out of bed? These are all common symptoms of past injuries or aging. Decreased movement at a joint can cause many problems, ranging from functional disability to psychological fears. Active ranges of motion (AROM) exercises are done by the individual, by using their own muscle strength and power, without external help. These exercises are prescribed by a trained physiotherapist who helps to increase joint flexibility, and overall functionality. In this blog, we have mentioned the benefits of doing active range of motion exercises, and a few easy-to-do range of motion exercises are given below.



There are many benefits of doing AROM exercises if the movement is decreased at a joint. Some of them are:

  • Increases joint range of motion
  • Increases the functionality
  • Improves and maintains joint integrity
  • Improves movement efficiency
  • Increases  independence


Upper Body Exercises:

Starting position:

  • Sit or stand in a comfortable position.
  • Face forward. 
  • Shoulders should be straight and relaxed.


Head forward and backward movement:

·    Gently bend the head and try to touch the chin to the chest.  Raise the chin back to the starting position. Tilt the head backward and look up towards the ceiling and return to the starting position.


Head side to side movement:

·    Tilt the head to the side, by bringing the ear towards the shoulder. Do not raise the shoulder towards the ear, return to the starting position.


Head turns:

·    Turn the head to look over at the shoulder. Tilt the chin down and try to touch the shoulder without raising the shoulder to the chin, return to the starting position.


Shoulder and elbow exercises:

Starting position:

  • Stand or sit on a chair without the arms.
  • Hold the arms straight down by the side
  • Palms facing towards the body.


Shoulder up and down movement:

·    Raise the arm forward and then up over the head, such that the inner arm touches the ear. Bring the arm down to the side. Bring it back as far as possible behind the body, return to the starting position.


Shoulder side to side movement:

·    Raise the arm by the side and then up over the head as far as possible. Return the arm to the side. Bring the arm across the front of the body and reach for the opposite shoulder, return to the starting position.


Shoulder rotation:

·    Raise both shoulders up toward the ears. Bring them back to the starting position, and relax the shoulders. Pull the shoulders back. And relax them again. Roll the shoulders in a smooth circular motion and then repeat the same in the opposite direction.


Elbow bends:

·    With the palm facing forward, bend the elbow. Try to touch the shoulder with the fingertips and return to the starting position.


Arm and wrist exercises:

Starting position:

  • Sit down.
  • Bend the elbow and rest the forearm on a flat surface, such as a table. Make sure the wrist hangs loosely over the side.


Wrist bends:

·    Bend the hand back towards the wrist, so that the fingers point toward the ceiling. Then bend the hand down with fingers pointing towards the floor.


Wrist rotation:

·    Move the hand from side to side. Then roll the hand in a circular motion in one direction and repeat the same in the other direction.


Palm up and down movement:

·    Stay in the same position, but tuck the bent elbow against the side. Face your palm down. Turn the palm so that it faces up towards the ceiling. Then turn the palm so that it faces down.


Hand and finger exercises:

Starting position:

  • Sit or stand.
  • Place the hand out in front.


Finger bends:

·    Make a tight fist, open and relax the hand.


Finger spreads:

·    Open the hand and stretch the fingers as far apart as possible, bringing them together again.


Finger-to-thumb movement:

·    Touch each fingertip to the pad of the thumb, one at a time.


Thumb-to-palm movement:

·    Move the thumb and rest it across the palm. Move it out and repeat again.


Lower Body Exercises

Hip and knee exercises:

Starting position

·    Lie on the bed with legs extended.


Hip and knee bends:

·    Slowly bend the knee up as close to the chest as possible. Straighten the leg and return  to the starting position


 Leg lifts:

·     Raise the leg to 300. And hold it in the same position for a few seconds and then return to the bed.


Leg side to side movement:

·    Flex the foot with toes pointing up towards the ceiling. Move the leg out to the side as far as possible and return to the starting position.


Leg in and out movement:

·    Put the leg extended on the bed. Bring the leg towards the middle, so that the big toe touches the bed. Then roll the leg out and try to make the smallest toe touch the bed.


Knee in and out movement:

·    Lie on the back of the bed. Bend the knee so that the bottom of the foot is flat on the bed. Slide the heel towards the buttocks and then return to the starting position.


Ankle and foot exercises:

Starting position:

·    Sit in a chair, place your feet on the floor.


Ankle bends:

·    Keep the toes on the floor and raise the heel as high as you can. Lower the heel and keep it on the floor and raise the toes as high as you can.


Ankle rotation:

·    Raise the foot slightly off the floor. Move the ankle in a circular motion then repeat the same in the other direction.


Toe bends:

·    Curl the toes down toward the bottom of the foot. Straighten them. Curl them up toward the ceiling. Then straighten them again.


Toe spreads:

·    Spread the toes apart. Bring them together again.



Avoid fast or jerky movements, the movements should be smooth and gentle. In case of pain or discomfort while doing the exercises, consult your physiotherapist.