Hello again one and all. It’s a frosty February but I wish you all a very warm welcome to this month’s blog where your wrists and hands will be under close inspection. Easily ignored and easy to think that because we use them all the time, there is little to add in keeping them healthy. So not true, so no excuses! Let’s get to it and rethink how we use what are at the ends of your arms.
Two pretty jam jars sitting side by side, along came Rachel but nowhere could you hide. She made you look, rethink your plan and realised you can Improve your lot, a stronger grip when you squeeze your ‘you know what’!!
In translation; if you are standing tall, your tummy and buttocks squeezed, shoulders relaxed you will generate a more powerful grip with less strain through your arm, neck and shoulders than if you are all hunched over. However, some of you will need a little more specific work on your hand and wrist joints and muscles which we will explore.
Having stiff wrists will lessen the power you can produce when gripping. Most people become more reluctant to place their hands flat on the floor as time goes by because their wrists feel stiff, tight and sore. However if you don’t keep your wrists supple they will only get stiffer and your grip will get weaker.
The amber light that things are heading south..
1. You pass tight jar lids to someone else or you rely on grip aids for unscrewing
2. You use two hands to lift a heavy pan or load when you would have done it with one
3. You feel less confident handling wet or awkwardly shaped objects
However, never fear my Stickmen are here!! (It’s all prose and poetry this month).
Stickman One will demonstrate a stretch to improve your wrist and finger flexibility.
Place palms and fingers flat to the floor Shoulders away from your ears Gently lean weight over your hands but stop when wrists feel tight and sore Feel the stretch on the inside of your forearm and back of your wrist Try lifting an arm and/or your opposite leg
If Stickman One’s stretch is too difficult, try Stickman Two.
Place your palms flat to the table Gently lean your weight over your hands
Stop when you feel your wrists are starting to feel uncomfortable
Even if you can get onto the floor this is a more convenient stretch to do through the day.
You may have no difficulty doing these stretches but they are still worthy of your attention after you have been repeatedly pruning, writing, sewing, moving logs etc. All muscles stiffen and tighten and your hands and wrists are no exception. Our hands and wrists are in a curled position most of our waking day. As the birthdays mount up your ability to stretch out your fingers and wrists reduces. If you are not careful this can be to the point where you simply lose that movement and your hands are permanently curled.
Power to your hands!!
If loss of power is more of a problem than inflexibility, then search for a clothes peg, hurry back and read on…
That was quick!! Take the peg you found between your thumb and index finger. While keeping your thumb straight (I’m watching…) slowly squeeze the peg without causing any increase in thumb or wrist pain. Try this squeeze action (it’s not just for your buttocks!) between your thumb and middle finger, then between your ring and little fingers. If your thumb bends as you squeeze, squeeze more gently even if you are unable to open the peg. If this all feels far too easy, loop an elastic band around the opening end to increase the resistance of squeezing the peg. Make sure you are standing/sitting tall with your shoulders back and down, tummy tight and buttocks squeezed.
No cheating now!
Next month – your back! This is the most common part of the body to be injured. I will give you an overview of my top tips of what to look out for and what you can do to work towards improving an existing problem and to help keep a good back good.
As always, if you have any questions regarding any of the above or regarding some other health issue, please feel free to contact me either by email or through the contact form on my website. Alternatively give me a call. It’s always good to talk!
P.S. For the curious, they are poppy seed heads and homemade cranberry sauce (of course!).