How to Improve Your Hand Mobility (and Why It Matters)

Image of the article titled How to Improve Hand Dexterity (and Why It Matters)

photo: Robillard (Shutterstock)

Over the past few months, it has occurred to me that in my mature 30s, I have lost some dexterity in my hands. I used to be able to safely hold my iced coffee and my phone in my hand, but now, my glove can only use one function at a time – and frankly, I don’t like saying that about my death. Fortunately, there are ways to improve flexibility, so let’s all ignore the passage of time and the approaching old age and focus instead on helping our hands do their best work.

What is dexterity?

Starting with the basics, dexterity is the skill to perform tasks, especially with the hands. “You need it to do your daily tasks and to react to whatever happens during the day,” says New York-based personal trainer Sam Vascones.

When you think about how much you do with your hands throughout the day, from making scrambled eggs for yourself in the morning to folding clothes at night (and everything in between), it becomes clear how important dexterity is to everyday life . Kendra Vander Wal, an occupational therapist in Colorado, also points out that dexterity can help you have fun in addition to the activities necessary in your daily life. For example, you need it for sports, or to use a remote or video game controller.

Stephanie Weyrauch, a physical therapist and vice president, says a lot of things can lead to a loss of flexibility. Connecticut Physical Therapy AssociationThese causes can include osteoarthritis, stroke or trauma, but can also be attributed to not promoting it properly. For example, she cites someone who played an instrument in high school—if they stop playing later, they may also struggle to play it when they pick up the instrument as an adult.

“This means that our brains also have some influence on dexterity,” she said. “Practice makes progress. The more we do a task with our hands, the easier it becomes.”

Vascones noted that lack of flexibility, lack of mobility, or lack of strength can also affect flexibility.

How to improve dexterity?

For some specific tips on improving flexibility, we turned to Weyrauch and personal trainer Abdias Rojas. “Damn,” Rojas said (very excited), “you can do a lot of movements that not only improve hand strength, but also hand flexibility.” Here’s what they recommend:

  • Put a rubber band on your finger, Then expand and contract them. This will help the myofascia relax, “making your hand feel more comfortable,” Rojas said. this video Demonstrate how to complete the rubber band technique.
  • Do Seated Finger DIP PROM Move by gently pinching the ends of your fingers at the last joint and slowly flexing your fingers with the other hand. According to Weyrauch, this can be done daily with 10 dips per finger for 10 seconds each.
  • Seated Finger PIP PROM Action, done at the same frequency and duration as above, including gently pinching your fingers at the middle knuckle, then flexing each finger there with your other hand. (A bit like like this.)
  • Seated Multi-Digit Intrinsic Stretch Start with you sitting up straight with your elbows on the table. Bend the fingers of one hand and hold the middle and upper joints of all fingers with the other hand. Gently squeeze your fingers until you feel a stretch. Do this 10 times a day for 10 seconds each.
  • try wrist tendon glide Rest your elbows on the table, keeping your fingers straight, then flex your fingers at your lower knuckles to give your fingers a “desktop” look. Straighten them, then bend your lower and middle knuckles, straighten your hand, form a claw punch, straighten again, and form a half fist before straightening again. Do two sets of 10 reps each day.
  • To get a better idea of ​​how much pressure should be applied when touching an item, do hand drill in the sand“It sounds weird,” Rojas warns, but “when you do a hand drill in a sandbox and put your hand in a box of sand, you can really learn to squeeze the sand and learn which joint or Which finger applies more pressure or less pressure.” Try squeezing a ball of putty with your thumb, index, and middle fingers while keeping your wrist straight.
  • do some be opposed to, which means you touch each finger on the same hand with your thumb, working at a different speed. (This one is from Roxas and Weyrauch, so you know it’s a winner. )
  • To enhance your sense of touch, Avoid exercising with gloves.
  • For a better grip, Rojas recommends heavy isolated hold “You stand in place with a heavy dumbbell, or kettlebell. See if you can grab it with your hands. ”
  • Rojas said another option for grip strength is forearm exercise “Because a lot of the muscles in your hand actually contract with the muscles in your forearm.”
  • To strengthen your wrists, do wrist flexibility training: “Practice placing your palms on the floor against them. Then, practice using backrest Your hands roll on the floor like weight gain and weight loss [the wrist],” Roxas said.
  • Finally, try Seated Eccentric Wrist Stretch. Sit up straight with your arms on the table, hold the dumbbells, hands over the edge, palms down. Curl the wrist up with the other hand, lower the wrist, and repeat. Do two sets of 20 reps each day.

In addition to exercise, Rojas recommends hand massage and even acupuncture. Vascones also recommends that, for example, people who have difficulty managing multiple items in their hands should use a vice grip rather than skimp on their forearm exercises, but “if it’s a mobility problem, you may need to stretch the hand and forearm or practice hand supination,” he said. And pronation.” You can even make it fun, according to Vander Wal: “Recreational activities like using clay and putty, spraying a water bottle, or cutting with scissors can also improve flexibility.”

When it comes to improving flexibility, don’t overlook the value of overall physical fitness, either. Weyrauch noted, “Without optimal gross (requires greater motor and more muscle groups) and fine motor (requires greater precision) skills, which make up the dexterity of our hands, we would not be able to perform “Daily tasks.

If your dexterity is adversely affected, or if your own exercise isn’t helping, consider seeing a medical professional or physical therapist. Vander Wal points out that a trained professional can perform some different assessments, such as using the O’Connor finger dexterity test. Determining the cause and severity of the problem can help you develop a better plan for improvement – and get back dual wielding a key and phone or get a high score in a video game in no time.

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