It’s easy to overlook hand-strengthening exercises when planning our workout routines. We may be more interested in burning belly fat or increasing our cardio endurance. However, maintaining strong hand strength as we grow older is very important. It’s important because hand fitness plays a significant role in our ability to perform everyday tasks with ease.
Imagine losing the ability to squeeze an orange, open a jar, carry luggage, or hold a gallon jug of water without dropping it. The quality of our retired life depends on many factors. And hand strength is one of them.
I realized this when I suffered a wrist injury in my mid-50s and found it challenging to hold a saucepan while spooning left-over meat sauce into a plastic storage container. That’s when I began taking hand and wrist strength seriously.
What is Hand Fitness
No. 1. What is Hand Fitness – Hand fitness is the ability to grip and use our hands for the purpose they were made for without difficulty. It’s the ability to perform everyday tasks like opening jars and squeezing with ease. These are all part of hand fitness. Holding on to things without dropping them is another.
No. 2. Why do hands lose strength with age? – Some people lose hand strength as they age as a natural part of losing muscle. Others lose strength because they haven’t used the muscles in their hands. Sometimes it’s due to injury or disease like arthritis or osteoporosis.
No. 3 – Can you improve hand strength? Yes. The good news is that you can easily improve handgrip strength with easy, grip strength exercises done at home. To be effective, grip strength training must become part of your regular exercise routine for optimal results. It’s easy to strengthen your grip at home with regular exercise. Movement is important, as well as gripping, opening, and closing your hands.
3 Easy hand strengthening exercises you can do at home.
It’s easy to strengthen your grip at home with regular exercise. Because I always stress the value of health when it comes to a successful retirement, I’ve added tennis ball squeeze, farmer’s carry, and silicone ring hand strengthening exercises to my health fitness routine.
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No. 1 – Tennis ball exercise for hand strength.
When I took the ice skating tumble that hurt my wrist, Rebel Retiree wanted me to go to the emergency room, but I refused. I treated my injury at home and began my physical therapy. Several routines helped me heal and restore strength and mobility to my hand and wrist. One exercise was squeezing a sand stress ball.
However, when the ball split, I began squeezing a tennis ball (Amazon affiliate link). Squeezing a tennis ball is simple and effective. This hand fitness exercise targets your wrists, fingers, and thumb flexors. As a result of doing this easy exercise, my grip strength improved and hopefully, yours will too. Plus, it doesn’t require any special equipment. You may already have a tennis ball around your house that you can use to complete this exercise.
Here’s how to do it.
-Place a tennis ball in the palm of your hand.
-Wrap your fingers around the ball and squeeze as hard as you can.
-Hold for about 5 seconds or so.
-Repeat this action 10 times.
-Repeat with your other hand.
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No. 2 – Farmer’s Carry for stronger hands and forearms.
I started doing Farmer’s Carry after searching the internet for how to improve hand and wrist strength.
Before we get started, let me emphasize that this hand-strengthening exercise can be challenging and may put stress on your joints. If you decide to try this, please be careful not to carry too heavy or over-exert leading to injury.
To give you an idea of how intense it can be, I’ve learned that my daughters’ did this exercise during a CrossFit workout.
Because Farmer’s Carry is a weight-bearing exercise, it’s considered a total fitness workout. You’ll notice some cardio benefits in addition to improving your hand, wrists, and forearm strength.
I like to do Farmer’s Carry outdoors walking around my yard. My yard acts as a track of sorts and I go around about 3 times. However, in cold or inclement weather, you can easily practice this routine indoors. Simply walk across a room holding a pair of dumbbells (Amazon affiliate link), cans, or water jugs.
Here’s how to do it.
-Start by bending at the knees, picking up a set of manageable weights, then stand up.
-Grip your weights with your arms extended.
-Walk 2 or 3 times around a room, yard, or track.
-Performing this exercise once a week should suffice.
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No. 3 – Hand strengthening exercises with silicone rings.
I’ve read that it’s normal to lose some grip strength as we get older. Therefore, we need to maintain functional movement in our hands and wrists to stay strong.
The good news is that we can easily improve our hand and grip strength with hand-strengthening exercises done at home. And silicone rings make this exercise super easy.
I hadn’t thought about silicone rings until my son-in-law sent me a set of 3 rings, which I call donuts. Each ring represents a different level of resistance – 30 lbs, 40 lbs, and 50 lbs. The benefit of the 3 ring resistance levels is that you can begin training at a lighter weight. Then as you get stronger, you can increase the weight to reach your fitness goals.
The rings are affordable and convenient to use. Best of all, they’re portable. For example, put one in your pocket and squeeze it wherever you are. Or, improve your grip while watching a movie, or listening to music. I like to keep mine on my desk so they’re handy for a quick workout throughout the day.
Here’s how to do it.
-Full Hand Squeeze – Hold the ring in the palm of your hand. Squeeze and contract slowly in reps of 10 to 15. Repeat with your other hand.
-Finger Twist – Hold the ring with both hands. Twist back and forth as if you are opening a bottle. Do this in reps of 10 to 15.
-Finger Spread – Insert your fingers into the center hole of the ring. Spread your fingers. Hold as long as you can. You’ll feel the ring creating resistance. Repeat with your other hand.
-Thumb and Finger Pinch – Hold the ring between thumb and forefinger. Pinch the ring and hold to the count of 5. Do this with every finger.
Repeat with your other hand. -Complete these exercises a few times a week, or keep the rings handy and give them a pinch and a squeeze at your convenience.
Product Recommendation: BYOMIGY Silicone Hand Grip Strengthener Grip Ring
It’s easy to overlook hand-strengthening exercises when planning our workout routines. However, it’s very important to maintain hand strength as we grow older so that we can easily perform everyday tasks. Plus, our quality of life in retirement depends on health and well-being.
With that said, exercises for hand strength are easy to do. Thus, tennis ball squeeze, farmer’s carry, and silicone ring hand strengthening exercises may help with overall hand fitness as we grow older.
This article is my opinion and not a substitute for medical advice. Please do the exercises at your own risk.
Source Study: Grip Strength as an Indicator of Health-Related Quality of Life in Old Age—A Pilot Study
Last update: 11/30/23
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