Give your fingers a workout (and we don't mean on the phone!)

Our index finger is strong enough to support our entire body weight, as can be seen by these Shaolin monks doing two-finger push-ups. — TCL Acroarts

Like our toes, our fingers are another body part we tend to ignore.

Our hands are often the first point of contact with our environment, and movement with our hands is a primary way of communicating.

The fingers grip and pick up things, squeeze pimples out, scroll through electronic gadgets, smack a child’s bottom, etc – basically, they manipulate objects to accomplish a goal.

All those tiny daily movements they make means our fingers are subject to a lot of repetitive tasks, which can eventually take a toll.

German philosopher Immanuel Kant called the hand the human outer brain, while Hungarian psychologist Géza Révész thought the hand is frequently more intelligent than the head.

Our elongated thumb is able to oppose our fingers, and hence control objects and instruments with a far greater degree of precision than primates and other animals.

The small or intrinsic muscles in the hand allow fine control of the thumb and fingers, although some fingers work harder than others.

Depending on how it’s measured, the verdict out there is that the index or middle finger is the strongest on the human hand.

Kept straight, the index finger can exert the most strength – enough to support your entire body weight.

You may have seen Shaolin martial artists and yogis perform two-finger handstands and push-ups.

However, the middle finger can exert the most arched strength due to its length and position.

Whatever remarkable feats our thumb and four fingers can achieve, it’s a fact that we seldom exercise them in a structured manner.

Having manicures and applying moisturiser leave them pretty, but the muscles still need to be worked to keep the fingers functional.

Here are some simple exercises you can do to strengthen the finger and thumb extensor muscles.

These are particularly useful for those with mild arthritis or are constantly on their mobile phones.

It’s not necessary to do these exercises daily – twice or thrice a week should suffice.

The only tool you need is a rubber band, and perhaps a golf ball.

Before you start, flick your wrists a few times to loosen up the joints.

Revathi Murugappan is a certified fitness trainer who tries to battle gravity and continues to dance to express herself artistically and nourish her soul. For more information, email The information contained in this column is for general educational purposes only. Neither The Star nor the author gives any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to such information. The Star and the author disclaim all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

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Fitness , exercise , workout


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