Some changes are expected as we age. We know that wrinkles will appear across our body, our hair may turn white or gray, and we may struggle to walk long distances without getting winded. However, a change that may catch you off-guard is the deterioration of your motor skills.
As you age, you may find that you struggle with tasks like baking, gardening, or woodworking. If you struggle with your motor skills, you may find yourself missing out on time to enjoy your favorite hobbies. However, there are several activities you can do to improve your motor skills as a senior.
At Leisure Villas, we understand the importance of maintaining your motor skills. Our team has compiled a list of easy activities you can do every day to improve your motor skills, so you can continue to enjoy your hobbies for many years to come. If you have noticed a deterioration in your motor skills recently, keep reading to see what activities can help improve these skills.
Why Your Hands Get Weaker as You Age
There are several reasons why your hands get weaker as you get older. From common medical conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, and osteoporosis to a general decrease in muscle mass, you’ll find that by the time you turn 65, your hands are much weaker than they previously were. In fact, you may lose as much as 25% of your grip strength, making everyday tasks much more difficult than they once were. However, there are many ways to fight back against this muscle loss and weakening of your hands.
Activities to Improve Your Motor Skills
Improving motor skills is important for seniors to maintain independence and mobility. Taking part in activities that promote dexterity, coordination, and balance can significantly improve your overall physical well-being. While you may worry that these hand-strengthening exercises will be boring or hard to incorporate into your daily routine, we promise they’re all worthwhile hobbies to take up. Some of the best activities to improve your motor skills include:
#1. Learn a Musical Instrument
Learning to play a musical instrument is a wonderful way to strengthen your hand muscles and improve your motor skills. Instruments like the clarinet, flute, guitar, piano, or violin require flexing your fingers, which can help you rebuild lost muscle in your hands. If playing a musical instrument seems too difficult, you may consider listening to music and clapping or snapping along to the beat.
#2. Finger Painting
Finger painting helps to improve your motor skills by promoting finger and hand coordination, increasing grip strength, and refining dexterity. It requires precise movements to control the paint, aiding in the development of muscle control and hand-eye coordination. Finger painting is a fun and effective way to refine motor skills while stimulating nerve endings and improving sensory processing. When you’re finished, you might even have a beautiful painting to hang in your home. If you want to improve your motor skills and brag to your friends about your custom art, consider trying finger painting.
#3. Knitting, Crocheting, or Sewing
Knitting, crocheting, and sewing all require hand-eye coordination, improving your dexterity and overall motor skills. Not only is this a fun hobby, but it is also a great way to improve your hand strength. Additionally, you can choose to join a knitting, crocheting, or sewing club, making it a great way to increase your social connection with people with similar interests. If you’re trying to find more ways to connect with the people around you, consider learning how to knit, crochet, or sew.
#4. Tai Chi
We’ve discussed the many benefits of tai chi for seniors in a couple of blogs, but it is still important to explain just how beneficial it can be when trying to improve your motor skills. This slow-motion workout helps seniors improve their balance and motion coordination. By focusing on these slow motions, seniors can develop better control of their body’s motion, making it much easier to perform tasks with their hands.
#5. Sort Small Items
Picking up and sorting small items is a great way to improve your motor skills. Whether you choose to sort beads, buttons, or coins, using small items that can be divided into trays is a great way to strengthen the muscles in your fingers. This can be an incredibly helpful task if you’re crafty but don’t currently have the best organization system. If your friends or family need help sorting small items, make sure to volunteer to help.
#6. Do Chores
One of the easiest ways to improve your motor skills is by performing everyday chores. From folding clothes to fastening hooks and buttons, these activities require focus and help you strengthen the muscles in your hands and arms. We know doing chores doesn’t sound like the most fun hobby on the list, but through repeated practice, you’ll find a major improvement in your overall motor skills and one less chore to do at the end of the day.
Maintaining Motor Skills and Independence at Leisure Villas
We understand how important it is for seniors to maintain their independence for as long as possible. At Leisure Villas, we encourage our residents to participate in a wide range of activities, hobbies, and physical activities to maintain their motor skills and independence for many years to come.
If you want to improve your motor skills while boosting your mental health, consider adding one or more of these activities to your day-to-day activities. Whether you’ve begun to notice a decrease in your motor skills or you’re trying to prevent muscle deterioration, adding one of these activities to your daily routine is a great way to do so.
To learn more about the benefits of living in one of our 55+ communities across the Wasatch Front, reach out to our team today or take a tour of one of our Leisure Villas communities.