Exercises to Keep Your Hands Strong and Flexible

June 26, 2011

By Susan Manning

A Round of Applause for our Hands!

Exercises for Hands and Fingers Hands are not something that we really think about until we have a problem with them. We use them every day to pick up, open up, grab, push, type, write and so much more.

Research has shown that aging has a degenerative effect on hand function “including declines in hand and finger strength and ability to control submaximal pinch force and maintain a steady precision pinch posture, manual speed and hand sensation.” This can be very frustrating and affect our daily life.

In the last couple of years have I worked with a client whose hands were cupping in and she was unable to clap. She also found it difficult to pick up coins from the table or tie her shoe. Through a series of exercise and stretches her hand use has increased dramatically and changed her life. Now we finish each training session by clapping….something that she could not do before.

Following are some exercises and stretches for the hands. Not to worry if you can’t do all these due to tight or weak muscles. As you try and do your best those muscles and joints will become stronger, more extensible and flexible. Research has shown that even those with arthritis can benefit from stretching and strengthening exercises. Even if you’re not currently having any problems with your hands you can do these simple exercises as a preventive measure.  And as always see your doctor before starting any exercise program.

Finger Bends #1

Finger Bends 1 Exercise

  1. Start with hand straight
  2. Bend from first set of knuckles keeping fingers straight
  3. Bend from second set of knuckles keeping rest of fingers straight and bring finger tips to palm of hand
  4. Repeat five times

Finger Bends #2

Finger Bends 2 Exercise

  1. Start with hand and fingers straight
  2. Bend from the third set of knuckles (the ones closest to your fingertips)
  3. Bend from the second set of knuckles trying to touch your hand
  4. Repeat five times

Lateral Finger Slides

Lateral finger slide exercise

  1. Start with hand flat on surface
  2. Slide index finger to side
  3. Slide middle finger to meet index finger
  4. Slide ring finger to meet middle finger
  5. Repeat 5 times

Individual Finger Lifts

Individual finger lift exercise

  1. Start with hand flat on the table
  2. Lift each finger and thumb up off the table individually and place back down
  3. Repeat five times

Ball Individual Finger Squeezes

Ball Individual Finger Squeeze Exercise
  1. Between the thumb and the finger squeeze a soft spongy ball and hold for five seconds
  2. Repeat with the next finger and so on
  3. Repeat up to three times

Hand Ball Squeeze

Hand Ball Squeeze Exercise
  1. Soft spongy ball in hand
  2. Squeeze and hold for five seconds and release
  3. Repeat five to ten times

Elastic Band Extensions

Elastic Band Extensions Exercise
  1. Place a band around your fingers
  2. Extend your fingers opening them up as wide as you can pause for a second and release
  3. Repeat five to ten times

Finger Stretch

Finger Stretch Exercise
  1. With  your fingertips and thumbs touching open fingers as wide apart as you can
  2. Gently begin pressing together until you feel a stretch in your hands
  3. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat five to ten times

Once you have completed all the exercises finish with a clap…..you deserve it!

About the Author: Susan Manning is a BCRPA TFL, ACE, ACSM, TWIST certified Advanced Health & Fitness Specialist in BC. She is Dr. Carolyn Anderson’s co-author of It’s Never Too Late To Be Fit, a comprehensive guide for older adult’s fitness.

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  • s.s.sareen

    very useful exercises. it relieved my fingers pain.
    i like it.

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