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Hand strength is linked to longevity;  See exercises recommended by experts

Hand strength is linked to longevity; See exercises recommended by experts

New York Times – Being able to grip things firmly is a big advantage when exercising or doing housework — but it’s also linked to a longer, healthier life. This is partly because people with stronger hands tend to be more physically active, which in turn is linked to physical activity. longevity.

But grip strength is also important in everyday tasks that become more difficult as we get older — whether that’s opening a bottle or holding on to avoid falling. However, it is not something that many people lead to academy Or they think too much.

“Hands are an important part of the body, but they’re not on our exercise radar,” said Katie Bowman, kinesiologist and podcast host. Move your DNA.

In addition to this problem, people’s hands are generally becoming weaker, perhaps because of the way we use smartphones and touch screens, says Dr. Erin Nance, a hand surgeon in the city. New York. She added that to reverse this situation, we need to exercise more than just the small muscles in our hands, but also those that run along the forearms, as well as the muscles of the arms, shoulders and core muscles. As Bowman said: “They work together as a functional unit.”

Grip strength is associated with a longer life expectancy filming: Tatum/Adobe Stock

To assess your hand strength, I suggested that you first hold something heavy, such as a cast-iron skillet, and turn it as if you were pouring its contents. Then see if you can support your weight with your hands and wrists. If any of these are difficult to hold for a few seconds, you may benefit from specific training.

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Here are some exercises that experts recommend to increase hand strength: It can be incorporated into your exercise routine or done separately.

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Add functional exercises to your existing workout

Experts say so You exercises Which strengthen the hands while engaging other muscles are most effectiveBecause it imitates the movements of daily life. For example: holding a heavy object in each hand and walking a few steps improves your grip, body, arms, shoulders, and back.

Start with 10-pound kettlebells or dumbbells, or “choose a weight that’s heavy enough to make you walk faster,” says Rachel Lovett, a personal trainer in Redmond, Washington.

Pete McCall, director of education at EOS Fitness Gyms, also recommends suspending your body in a suspension position (an exercise called… Hanging dead), i.e. the initial position of the bar. “You need your grip strength to control your body weight, which is good for your shoulders, upper back and torso,” McCall said. Beginners should start with ten-second sessions and try to work up to a minute.

Hanging your body on a bar is an example of an exercise that works your hands and wrists. filming: Image Science 1971 / Adobe Stock

The so-called bear walk (Walking bear) — Walking on all fours on the floor — is another way to strengthen your hands along with other muscles, said Jarlo Elano, physical therapist and co-founder of the online exercise program GMB Fitness.

“You push off the floor — using your hands, fingers and wrists — to propel your entire body forward,” Elano said. He recommended four sets of two minutes, separated by two minutes of rest.

Adjust the exercises you’re already doing

The simplest way to strengthen your hands is to modify the exercises you are already doing. McCall recommended replacing the rowing machine handle with a towel or rope. “You have to grip harder, so all the muscles in the hand have to work harder,” he said.

Elano suggested ditching weightlifting gloves — which are easier to grip — to perform exercises on machines like the pulldown. “You may need to reduce the weight, but it will help improve your grip.”

Free weight exercises — using barbells, dumbbells or kettlebells — are another opportunity to get a hand workout. “When I do a biceps curl, I press the dumbbells to work my forearms as well as my biceps,” Lovett said.

Try specific exercises every now and then

Experts say most people don’t need specific hand exercises unless they’re recovering from an injury or training for a sport like golf or tennis. They suggested limiting it to once a week unless a physical therapist advises otherwise.

Christine Valdes, an occupational therapist at Touro University in Nevada, suggests squeezing the tennis ball for five seconds at a time, 10 times in a row, and repeating for three sets. Isometric exercises like these, where muscles contract but there is no movement, are “safer for people with arthritis and other joint problems,” she said.

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Another simple exercise that works your wrists and forearms is towel rolling. “Wet a hand towel and wring it out until there is no water left,” says Travis Haywood, head trainer at F45 Training Gym in Pompano Beach, Florida.

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Repeat three to five times, changing the direction of the twist midway through the exercise. Or, if you have access to weights, wrist curls may be suggested (Wrist curl): In a seated position, hold a light dumbbell (no more than 2 pounds to start) and place your forearms on your thighs. Lift your wrists up and then down, with the palms facing up. / Translated by Renato Prilorenzo

This article was originally published in The New York Times.