Activities To Improve Upper Body Strength In Occupational Therapy For Adults

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There are many reasons adults may need to recover some upper body strength. Many of them are a part of injury recoveries, though the appearance of some neuromuscular disorders can also play a part. Most strengthening regimes start slowly and ramp up as people take to them. Also, they will often begin generally, and add additional tools like balance or manual dexterity to the repertoire. Here is a look at some popular exercises using household items:

Playing Catch
The timing and coordination required to catch a ball may seem elementary, but after a long recovery from injury, much of that must be re-worked into your muscles. You may have the muscle memory, but not the strength to catch heavier items. This exercise usually begins with lighter balls, and moves to heavier items like medicine balls.

The coordination required to play pinball or put puzzle pieces into holes is another way to increase upper body function. Combining this skill with wrist weights or standing will create cross-training opportunities that work on balance and lower arm strength. Though this may not look like a typical upper body strength workout for bodybuilders, it can be very useful for those who have had limited muscular function for some time. Puzzle work can also be a quiet indicator of other additional issues that may accompany your injury. As many patients are elderly, it can be an early sign of dementia or alzheimers, and in those with nerve damage, it can give an idea of which small motions are difficult for the patient and require additional care strategies.

Shoulder Rolls
As you become stronger, more typical weight training activities may be added to your workout. Often, one of the first of these is shoulder rolls. This entails holding on to heavy objects while shrugging your shoulders. The benefit of this as a starting point is that it starts with your core, and works on your standing balance. A strong core is a crucial thing when it comes to taking on different weight challenges, particularly when you are elderly and subject to falls. Shoulder issues are one of the most common upper body problems and are one of the most debilitating when it comes to being able to do normal daily activities.

Modified Daily Activities
As the goal of occupational therapy is about being able to return to your daily activities and/or way to earn money, many OTs will begin introducing modified versions of your own household and work responsibilities to your workout. In some cases, strength may be increased only to a certain point, and some modifications of how to accomplish chores may need to be permanently made. Obvious examples of this are in cases of paralysis, where workouts are needed but the same level of skill will never happen.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "Activities To Improve Upper Body Strength In Occupational Therapy For Adults," in, January 9, 2016, (accessed September 29, 2022).