Hands get a lot of work but they seldom get dedicated exercise. We use our hands to grab hold of things on a daily basis. We use our hands to type and paint and crochet. We do all sorts of things with our hands that cause our fingers to curve in toward our palms. Is it any wonder that we eventually begin to feel this one sided use in the joints of our fingers?
There are quite a few gadgets for exercising our hands and many of those work on making our fingers have a stronger grip. That is well and good, but in a life where we are gripping all the time we really need to ‘ungrip’ things. The action of moving our fingers away from the palm is called extension. We seldom actively extend our fingers and this lack of cross training is one of the chief reasons we can end up with osteoarthritis in our finger joints. Osteoarthritis is caused by uneven wear in the joints. The act of always bending our fingers toward the palm makes a portion of our joints wear out faster. If we cross train by extending our fingers we can correct this imbalance and reduce the uneven wear – and thus reduce osteoarthritis.
I had a chance to try out a new hand exerciser and as well had a chance to have a group of students try it out with me. This hand exerciser focuses on finger extension. It is called the FlexEx Hand Exerciser and it is a resistance device that allows you to exercise all the fingers at the same time. You can also use it to exercise fingers individually.
There are three different bands in the package. The yellow band offers an easy resistance which would be good for those who have weaker hands and are looking to start hand exercises. Many of us who tried the yellow found it offered little challenge, but some preferred it. I found after several repetitions with it, even though it was not very challenging I could feel that my hands were getting a workout.
The red band is a medium resistance and it was a reasonable challenge. Those who found the yellow too easy found the red to be the level they preferred. There seems to be quite a step up in resistance between the yellow and the red. I found the red challenging and my hand began to tire relatively quickly.
The blue band is the heavy resistance and most of us felt it was too great a challenge, however one student who uses his hands a lot preferred the blue. He might have even benefited from doubling up a red and blue together, which the maker recommends for increasing resistance.
I have not tried doubling the yellow resistance yet and I think that would provide a needed step up between the single yellow and the red for those who are needing to rehab their hands. We also just worked with spreading all the fingers and didn’t vary by working one finger or trying different actions. I plan on incorporating these into my core conditioning classes as a hand cross training routine.
What I liked the most about this product was the ease of use and portability. These will easily fit in a pocket or purse. A couple of minutes of use would offer an amazing mid-day relief for those who do a lot of typing. I also really liked that they gave three different resistances in the same package so a person does not have to guess which level and can easily go up or down in resistance at whim.
If you have any hand discomforts then you ought to check out the FlexEx. It is inexpensive, easy to use and portable. My first few uses of it have me liking it a whole bunch. I will post again when I have had a chance to put it through an even more rigorous testing with my classes.