Have you ever heard that saying, “motion is lotion?” Moving our bodies lubricates our joints with nutrient rich fluid. Mobility exercises can help maintain healthy joints and increase or maintain range-of-motion and flexibility; these support our daily routines and athletic activities.

Think about the activities you take part in each day and how your body moves to complete those activities. Good mobility of the thoracic spine, or the middle back, supports movement of our arms up and overhead, like when we lift something to the top of a shelf, and our ability to turn side to side, like when we twist to grab something from the back seat of a car.

So, too, can good ankle mobility help improve our balance, which may lead to fewer falls as we move through our daily lives. And hip joint mobility also helps our balance and stability.

These mobility exercises involve gentle movements, such as straightening and bending legs at the knee joint or the arms at the elbow joint, or rolling your shoulders forward, up, back, and down. These exercises can be done in a short amount of time, they can be practiced standing or sitting in a chair, and one of the great things is that you don’t need any equipment to do them! You can do one exercise at a time or put them together into a full body mobility session. As with any movement, it is important to pay attention and “listen” to your body while doing these exercises.

So where do I start? I’m a Yoga Therapist and VHA Integrative Health Coordinating Center Program Lead, and this chair-based joint mobility session can help you find that motion is lotion!


If you are interested in learning about other ways to move your body and don’t know where to start, you may be interested in checking out some other Moving the Body resources: Moving the Body – Whole Health (va.gov)  or the many other movement videos as a part of this #LiveWholeHealth self-care series.

By Alison Whitehead, MPH, C-IAYT

Program Lead for the Integrative Health Coordinating Center in the VHA Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation

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Published on Sep. 5, 2022

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