Games and Activities to Increase Upper Limb Strength and Motion
Using games and activities is an effective way to help increase the range of motion of the arms. Adding weight cuffs around the wrists to any of these activities will help you to strengthen the upper limbS as well. Understanding how to properly perform these activities will help to reduce risk of injury while you reach you fitness goals. Because you are participating in games and fun activities, you are more likely to stick with this program over a long period of time.
Ball Toss with Conversation
Exercise your arms while visiting with friends with a ball toss using a conversation ball. Write trivia or general questions, such as "What is your favorite movie?" using a permanent marker on a beach ball. As the ball is tossed, the question that the person catching the ball sees first, she should try to answer. After answering, toss the ball again to someone else, and that person should answer the first question they see.
Fly Swat with Balloons
Place yourself and a your friends in a circle of chairs, spaced at least 5 feet apart. Place a fly swatter in both hands of each player and toss a balloon up into the air. Encourage your friends to keep the balloon in the air using the fly swatters without getting out of the chair. Move your chairs farther away if the fly swatters are hitting each other. Add a point to each player who allows the balloon to hit the ground and keep score until you reach 10 points. The person with the lowest score is the winner.
Spoon Scavenger Hunt
Place brightly colored plastic spoons all over your house. Make sure to place some spoons on the floor, near the ceiling and any place that would require a player to reach her arms to retrieve the spoon, such as on the countertop positioned nearest to the wall. Using a stop watch, give all of the players three minutes of time simultaneously to look for the colored spoons and the person with the most spoons at the end of three minutes is the winner. This activity will also focus on balance and trunk stretching.
Using a large parachute or sheet, place a ball on the parachute and have each person hold the parachute with two hands. With each person seated in a circle so that the parachute is almost taut, begin to raise and lower the parachute to move the ball. Instruct your friends not to let the ball fall off the parachute. Add more balloons for increased difficulty.
Melissa Sabo is an occupational therapist who started writing professional guidebooks for all Flagship Rehabilitation employees in 2009. Specializing in applied therapy and exercise for non-medical readers, she also coauthored a manual on wheelchair positioning. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in occupational therapy.