In my work I use my hands a lot. Carving with knives, axe work, operating powered sanders, bending steamed wood, fine manipulations, gripping and holding work in place, lifting, pushing, typing, even using them as a hammer. It’s a cliché but they’re the most useful tools I’ve got and I’ve realised I should be looking after them more.
It’s a bit shameful to say this after working with my hands for a living for a dozen years or more but I’ve finally started to clean them properly and add moisturiser regularly. I’ve been noticing how they can ache when writing or doing small work and started to worry about the possibilities of arthritis, carpal-tunnel or worse.
Then a friend pointed out that, like any well-used muscles can be, those in my hands are just very developed and, as a result, too tight.
Try this: put your hands together in front of you and, keeping the palms together, flex your fingers back away from each other. This is me doing it in the photo below. I know, it doesn’t look like I’ve even started – I bet yours are better.
So now I have exercises to add flexibility to the strength I already have in my hands. They don’t need any equipment so I can do them while I walk or sitting at a table. I’ve been doing them a couple of weeks and I can see a change which is very inspiring. I’ll post new pictures from time to time to show developments – and to remind me to keep doing it.