Keeping Hands and Fingers Strong and Flexible

Well functioning hands are a vital part of overall health and well being. As we age, however, hand function can decrease due to structural changes in joints, muscle, tendon, bone, nerve and receptors, blood supply and skin. Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, the ‘wear and tear’ common conditions in older people, cancause further challenges in comfort, strength and mobility.

Well chosen and regularly practiced exercises will help maintain functionality in the hands and fingers. Thumbs, in particular, will benefit from regular, fluid movements to avoid stiffness, which can interfere with daily activities. You might try these:

1. Simple -  stretch the hand and make a fist. Alternate several times with each hand

1. Simple -  stretch the hand and make a fist. Alternate several times with each hand

2.  Thumb cross Start with hand in open position and fingers straight. Then bend the thumb and reach it across the palm to touch base of the baby finger. If you can’t reach all the way go as far as you can.  Return thumb to starting position and repeat several times with each hand.

2.  Thumb cross

Start with hand in open position and fingers straight. Then bend the thumb and reach it across the palm to touch base of the baby finger. If you can’t reach all the way go as far as you can.  Return thumb to starting position and repeat several times with each hand.

3. Finger dexterity Start with hand in open position and fingers straight. Move the thumb across, holding down fingers as you stretch 1, 2, 3 and 4. Then reverse, extending 4, 3, 2 and 1. Repeat on both hands.

3. Finger dexterity

Start with hand in open position and fingers straight. Move the thumb across, holding down fingers as you stretch 1, 2, 3 and 4. Then reverse, extending 4, 3, 2 and 1. Repeat on both hands.

4. Rest hand on a flat surface, palm down. Move thumb away from the other fingers. Move index finger toward the thumb, followed by the other fingers one at a time. Repeat several times with each hand.

Reference:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/arthritis/sls

http://www.thephysiocompany.com/

http://biomedgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/