The Importance of Hand Exercises
We seldom think about the condition of the muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons in our hands and wrists – until something hurts. Even if you use your hands daily, as most of us do, it is very important to do hand exercises on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, most of us use our hands in the same fashion day in and day out. Our hands are used to this, and can accommodate these actions for many years. Eventually, however, the joints start wearing down, and this leads to arthritis. There really is no way to avoid this, other than eating right and staying as healthy as you can, for as long as you can, but there are other things to consider as well, such as how we are not using our hands and wrists on a daily basis.
When we don’t use all of the muscles in our hands and wrists, they become weak from under use. Then, when we do need to use them, they become very sore, very fast, and they are more easily injured. Furthermore, we can strengthen the muscles that we do use considerably to avoid injury in those muscles as well. Hand exercises are very easy, and take very little time each day.
Start with flexing exercises. Lay your hand flat on a table, and lift each finger – one at a time if possible, as high as you can lift it, without moving your hand from the table. Do this for each finger several times a day. Also flex your wrist back and forth as far as possible without aiding it, several times a day as well, and flex from side to side as well. This all helps to keep the wrists and fingers flexible.
Make a tight fist and hold it for several seconds. Try counting to ten. Release the hand, shake it out, and then make another fist and hold it again. Do this for each hand, several times a day.
Next, do stretching exercises. Lay your hand flat on a table, and stretch your fingers apart as far as you possibly can – without aid. Don’t forget to stretch your thumbs out as well. Pick up, move, and release small objects. This keeps the function of your hands and fingers in good operating condition. Handling smaller items becomes more difficult as we age – unless we exercise this function often.
Finally, be good to your hands. After exercising your hands, get your favorite lotion, and give them a nice long massage. If the exercises cause you temporary soreness try soaking your hands and wrists in warm salt water. Dry them well, and then apply your favorite lotion.