We use our hands for so many different things without even considering the important role they play. Accordingly, maintaining strength in these two extremities is critical. There may even be a link that exists between the strength of your hand grip and the chances of future disability and/or premature death for the middle-aged and older population.
According to a report by the Columbia Daily Tribune, there have been thirty studies conducted over the past three decades that have backed up the correlation between a weak hand grip and future disability and premature death in the aforementioned age group. Despite our continuous use of them, hand strength starts to gradually decrease as we age. This is possible because although we are using these extremities on a frequent basis, most of the activities we are engaging in with them don't require much force exertion.
How much hand strength do I need and how is it measured?
Certified hand therapist and occupational therapist Teresa McKerrow was cited in the Tribune article to show that on average we only need 20 pounds of grip strength. This is enough to allow us be able to perform most of our daily functions.
A hand tool called a dynamometer is used to measure our hand grip strength and our ability to grasp with our fingers (prehension). The patient is challenged to squeeze the dynamometer as hard as possible three times. The results from these three attempts are then added up and averaged to get the strength score.
Increasing Hand Strength
Now that we have shared the importance of hand strength, how much we need, and how it is measured, we are going to provide you with some exercises and products that you can use to maximize your hand strength and essentially your hand functioning.
Hand Grip Exercises
Having a strong grip is beneficial for reasons beyond being able to open jars. It enables you to have a firm handshake as well. Hand grip exercises can help firm up that handshake and allow you to open your own pickle jars. Below are five exercises that you can use to improve your grip.
- Static Barbell Hold
- Dumbbell Rotation
- Ball Squeeze Exercise
- Hand Grippers
- Forearm and Shoulder Exercise
Instructions on how to properly perform these activities can be found here.
Hand Strength Aids
There are various products on the market that you can utilize to build up your hand strength. We are going to list a few of them for you.
Hand pad exercisers help make the muscles of your hands and fingers stronger. This aid allows you to work these muscles separately or together.
If you want to strengthen your thumb and/or individual fingers, an effective product for you is a thumb exerciser.
For those of you who may have problems with or are unable to hold standard dumbbells, flexible hand weights are another option that you can utilize. These weights are more comfortable than the regular dumbbells and are designed to conform to your hands.
Our hands are involved in so many of our daily activities. Take advantage of these activities and products to help keep them going strong.
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