Fitness programs generally apply to areas where people have the most problems or need improvement, such as the abdomen, back, arms, or legs. Few of us think of exercises for our hands, but we probably use these more than any other part of our bodies. We hardly think about how we use our hands during the course of the day, we take them for granted, much as we do our eyes, until something goes wrong. Hands that have become weak are much more likely to be injured, especially if they are challenged by an unexpected or unusual activity. Those who play musical instruments as well as those who work with tools or equipment all need to keep their hands strong to help prevent injury and strain. Nearly every sports activity involves the hands, as well. Hand exercises can act both as a preventive and to help restore hand health after injury.
One important thing to remember is that the old saying, “No pain, no gain”, is absolutely false. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong and you should never ignore it; continuing with an exercise that hurts will usually result in damage to a muscle, tendon, ligament, or joint.
Few people would consider beginning to exercise without a warm up session to stretch the muscles before the real workout starts. Warming up gets the blood flowing to the area and stretching is an excellent way to get your hands ready for exercising. You will be much less likely to cause an injury to your hands while exercising if you have taken a few moments to warm up. Pulling back on the fingers, both singly and with all of them, helps to stretch out the tendons and muscles, and prepares you for the exercises. Opening and closing your hand while reaching out with your fingers will help to oxygenate the hand, and also stimulates your body to produce more of the fluid that lubricates the joints.
Exercises For Strong Fingers
There are 14 joints in your hand, as well as tendons and muscles, and these can be strengthened to help keep your hands flexible and less prone to damage. Remember, too, that much of the strength of your fingers resides in your forearm. If you think about it while flexing your fingers you can actually feel a ‘pull’ in your forearm as you do so.
One of the best exercises for building up finger strength is the old reliable one of squeezing a foam or rubber ball. This will also help the muscles in your arm. Start out with a fairly soft ball if you have not gotten much exercise for your fingers to date. As your finger strength increases, you can progress to firmer balls. There are also a number of exercise devices specifically designed to increase the strength of the fingers. Many of these offer a range of difficulty, so it is possible to build finger strength without harm.
Building Up The Hand Itself
Most of the exercises for the fingers will also help to strengthen the hands as well, but there are also a few exercises that will help to target the hands (and forearms). Using a towel around the feet and using this to pull yourself up will definitely help to build up hand strength. There are also various grips, flexible bars, and weights that can make a real difference in the power of your hands.
Do Not Forget The Wrists
Nearly everyone is familiar by now with the problems associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. This is, essentially, a pinched nerve in the wrist and will result in pain, weakness, and in extreme cases, loss of use of the hand. Repetitive work is usually the greatest cause of this condition, but a few simple warm up exercises can help to prevent it; stretching out the hands and fingers, flexing them up and down, and making a fist all help to keep the wrist in condition. These exercises should be repeated about 10 times and you can end the session by allowing your arms to dangle at your side while shaking your hands. Do these before starting work for the day, and at regular intervals to prevent damage.