The anatomy of the hand is very complex. The main muscles that create movement in our finger joints and therefore work when we're typing are those in our forearm. There are six muscles on the front of your forearm (palm side) and seven on the back. These tendons run through your wrist and to your finger joints, allowing them to type. And as you do, they go through constant and quick flexion and extension for hours on end.
Take a look at your arms. These are little muscles in comparison to our leg muscles. Yet, as writers, we put them through a lot of work.
I'm not going to go into the muscles that work the hand. These are tiny little muscles that are mostly responsible for the spreading of our fingers and also get quite the workout as our hands constantly fly across the keyboard.
Typing is a fine motor skill and requires the coordination of these small muscles. But as writers, we're constantly at this activity and therefore put these muscles through copious amounts of physical stress. There's no need to panic as typing isn't dangerous, but to last through the years there are some things you can do to keep your hands happy and healthy.
I will talk about each of these and prevention of these conditions at a later date. But for now, some common problems typists face with their hands may include:
1. Constant muscle fatigue
2. Generalised pain
3. Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
Keep Your Hands Happy
So what can you do to help keep your hands strong? First of all, the constant use of them continues to maintain their strength. But like any part of the body, the one act alone cannot maintain the strength of your hands. A runner doesn't run faster because they practice running. They go through what we call 'conditioning'.
Conditioning means exercise. Therefore, it's important to exercise your hands and ensure you maintain a good positioning of them as you sit all day at the computer.
1. Ensure you have positioned yourself correctly at the keyboard and that your forearms, wrists, and hands maintain a straight alignment. If your wrists are bent either upwards or downwards, then you need to adjust your posture.
2. Get a stress ball! Squeezing this a couple of times a day will help maintain strength of your little hand and finger muscles.
3. Stretch out your hands by pulling them up, down, or interlocking your fingers and pushing out. Ensure you include your thumb!
4. Take regular breaks from typing ... as long as you're not in a pivotal scene and need to get it down before inspiration leaves!
5. Keep your hands warm. If you live in a cooler climate, this is something you need to remember. Typing with cold hands can lead to pain and quicker fatigue.
Pleas continue to think about keeping the condition of your hands healthy so you will never need to physically struggle to write a novel.
I hope you've enjoyed this Write Tip!
Remember, Happy Body, Happy Hands, Happy Life and a Happy Ending to your story!
Until next time,
Rachel Armstrong is a writer of romantic fiction and an exercise physiologist. Inspired after writing about athletes during her high school years, she studied Exercise Physiology at James Cook University. Today, she conducts health consults in Townsville for people with chronic conditions, such as obesity, Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and musculoskeletal injuries. Rachel is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and believes fitness begins with what you eat. She keeps fit away from her desk through walking, aerobics, dance, and aerial silks.