Before a child is ready to write, there are significant skills that must be accomplished from infancy through the preschool years.

The following children’s activities support and promote the fine motor skills needed to ensure success when it comes to learning to write.

Joint Strength
Before the body is ready for fine motor activity, the joints of the body must be stable. When body stability has developed, the hands and fingers start working on movements that require dexterity and grasping. Try these hand exercises to strengthen the joints

  • Wheelbarrow: Have your child walk on his hands. Have him kneel on the ground, place his hands on the ground in front, palms flat. You lift up his legs up and push along as he puts one hand in front of the other to walk.
  • Crab Walk: Your child should sit down on the ground, hands behind him palms turned out. Then tell him to lift his bottom up while walking hands and feet backwards at the same time.
  • Wall push-ups: Have your child stand up, arms shoulder width apart, hands at chest height. Place the palms flat against the wall and do 10 push ups per set.
  • Monkey Bars: Supporting and pulling up his own weight on the playground monkey bars will also improve joint strength.

Fine Motor Exercises for Handwriting
Children will develop fine motor skills best if they work on a vertical surface, especially when the wrist is in extension (bent back in the direction of the hand). You can try these activities with paper on the wall, paint on an easel or a using a chalkboard.

  • Trace: With a large marker you draw a stick figure on the paper, or simple line drawing of your choice. Have your child trace over your drawing up to 10 times trying left to right and top to bottom. Then have the child draw the figure next to your model several times. For more complex drawings, try tracing paper laid over the image and repeat exercise.
  • Connect the dots: You can draw dots on the paper in a random pattern. Ask the child to connect the dots from left to right, and from top to bottom.
  • Stencils: Have your child use their non-dominant hand to firmly hold the stencil on the paper. With their dominant hand they can draw around the edge of the stencil.

When your child is older and handwriting practice begins, start the lessons off right by using an ergonomic pen that is light and easy to grip with smooth ink, like the UGLee Pen. Be sure to check back to see Childrens Activites that Help Develop Handwriting Skills – Part 2 to learn about games that can help with visual motor development.

 

Photo Credit

 

Posted by: ugleepen | March 11, 2017

Researcher Awarded Grant to Study Workplace Ergonomics

mikeholmes-1600x1188The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) announced it has awarded Michael Holmes, assistant professor in Ontario’s Brock University’s Department of Kinesiology, a grant of nearly $100,000 for equipment purchases from its John R. Evans Leaders Fund.

Michael Holmes is determined to make work a safer place by studying how people sit, stand and use their muscles on the job.

To do that, however, he needs high-tech machines to help him track muscle activity and body movements.

With the money, Holmes will be purchasing three sophisticated devices to create the new Neuromechanics and Ergonomics Lab at Brock.

Among the equipment is a motion capture system. Similar to what’s used in the development of gaming, animation and cinema, nearly a dozen cameras will record research participants’ postures and body movements as they perform a variety of simulated workplace tasks.

Another piece of equipment is the haptic wrist robot, a one-of-a-kind device that is unique to Canada. Similar to a joystick, the device pushes back when a person tries to move it.

“This allows us to look at how the forearm muscles control the hand,” says Holmes.

The third piece of equipment is an electromyography system, or EMG, which evaluates and records electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles.

“This helps us to understand how the muscles generate the movements captured by our cameras,” says Holmes.

Holmes explains the combination of the three machines will give him and his research team a complete picture of workplace movement.

“We’ll understand what the muscles do, how people move and what sort of forces they’re interacting with.”

This knowledge, in turn, can be used to better design workplace tools and objects, or change workstations so that workers “interact with the tools differently” to prevent workplace injuries, he says.

“This research will lead to workplace and tool design strategies that make occupational tasks safer and more efficient,” says Holmes. “It will impact the lives of working people everywhere, because work shouldn’t hurt.”

Source: Brock University Media Relations

Posted by: ugleepen | February 28, 2017

What Parents Need to Know About Kids Learning to Write

Ergonomic Pen

Kids Learning to Write Need an Ergonomic Pen

It takes years of practice to learn how to write, and what you may not realize is that part of this practice involves more than just the repetition of drawing the letters and numbers. It involves making sure the muscles are properly developed to support the repetitive practice.

What you want to be aware of is that children of all ages are at risk for repetitive stress injury.

Because of their underdeveloped muscles, it is easy for children to accumulate small injuries early that stay with them as they grow older and get more active.

Repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) occur when too much stress is placed on a part of the body, resulting in pain, swelling, muscle strain, or tissue damage. It’s the repetition that causes the injury -even text messaging, which is so prevalent today can cause RSI.

An ergonomic pen, such as the UGLee Pen, is a great way to avoid repetitive stress injury and help prevent future hand problems.

Its ergonomic design keeps stress and strain off the tendons so that there will be no inflammation or swelling in that surrounding area.

The result is writing comfort with no pain and for the youngest of children learning to write, helping to avoid frustration associated with gripping the pen too hard.

For older children and teens, who are already active on the computer, texting on their cell phones and playing many sports, tension to their tendons can already be a problem.

With my ergonomic pen, you can rest assured that when they sit down to write, the tension to their tendons will be minimized and provide them with relief from pain.

This relief of strain to the tendons can carry through to their other activities as well.

 

Posted by: ugleepen | February 15, 2017

Do You Have Arthritis? Six Things You Should Ask Your Doctor

doctorAs an arthritis patient, there is basic information about your condition that you must know and understand.

Arthritis journalist Carol Eustice has put together six questions you should ask your doctor so that you will be able to work together as a team.

1 – What type of arthritis do I have? 

There are different types of arthritis.

Your treatment options  depend on your type of arthritis.

Being accurately diagnosed by your doctor and understanding your diagnosis are two essential elements of your health care.

2 – What did my test results show (blood tests and imaging studies)? 

Ask your doctor what abnormalities appeared in the test results. Inquire about the severity of the abnormalities.

Ask for a printed copy of the blood test results  and imaging study reports.

3 – When should I expect to notice improvement from my current treatment? 

After you have been diagnosed, your doctor will recommend a treatment regimen. Discuss your expectations with your doctor.

Your doctor should be able to explain the goal of your treatment, when you should expect some positive impact, and how long you will wait before switching to something else, if the current treatment appears to be ineffective.

4 – If my current treatment does not prove effective, what are my treatment options going forward? 

Some people find comfort in knowing what might come next. It allows you time to become mentally prepared.

5 – In addition to my prescribed medications, what should I be doing to help manage my arthritis? 

Traditional arthritis treatment, primarily involves medication. But, there are no rules that state you can’t try alternative or complementary treatments as well.

Tap into your doctor’s experience and ask for suggestions above and beyond medications.

Be specific as you discuss what is most bothersome to you and how it affects your ability to perform usual daily activities.

6 – What’s my prognosis? 

Based on the severity of your arthritis when you are first diagnosed and your response to treatment, ask your doctor what you should expect in the near future.

Discuss the possibilities — even though you know there are no guarantees.

The Bottom Line

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you stay on-topic with your doctor as you discuss your specific type of arthritis.

It will help you to understand how your treatment should work and allow you to set realistic goals.

 

Source: Carol Eustice  

Posted by: ugleepen | January 24, 2017

5 Tips to Reduce the Risk Of Arthritis

oldpersonArthritis is not merely a circumstance of old age.

It is a generalized term used for over 100 disorders and diseases, thus it is difficult to pinpoint specific preventative steps for everyone.

However, these 5 tips will help you support the health of your joints and reduce strain and injury that often leads to inflammation, and subsequently painful arthritis symptoms.

1. Maintain or Reduce Your Weight-   Carrying extra weight leads to extra stress on your joints- especially your knees and hips.

Research has shown that losing as little as 11 pounds may improve your joint health and cut your risk of osteoarthritis of the knee by 50 percent.

2. Strength Training- Lifting weights creates denser bones and builds stronger muscles that help stabilize and protect joints.

Strength training also boosts your metabolism while decreasing the percentage of body fat.

Work with a qualified trainer to assure you are using proper techniques to protect your joints. prevent injury and avoid undue joint stress.

3. Move that Body-  Exercise is great for overall health. It is possible to overdo it, however.

Pounding the pavement adds enormous stress to your joints.

Lowering the impact through aquatic exercises takes the strain off the joints while strengthening your muscles.

Hiking and walking builds bone strength as well, and Yoga and other forms of gentle exercise like Pilates and Tai Chi keep joints strong and muscles limber while erasing stress.

4. Ditch the Heels-   Wearing heels every day increases the force on a woman’s knees by 23%.

Research done in 2010 by Iowa State University also found that increased strain was put on a women’s back as a result of wearing high heels.

5. Feed Your Joints-   A number of specific nutrients have been shown to support joint health.

Strong bodies (and overall joint health) will benefit from bone-building calcium and vitamin K, tissue-repairing vitamin C, pain-relieving vitamin E, and folic acid.

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to relieve pain and stiffness

Prevention always works better for your health, so these tips are applicable to everyone.

Practicing these five lifestyle changes could help reverse inflammation in your joints, thus possibly preventing the onset of arthritis.

 

Source: Robin Thomas/ Living Well Connections

Posted by: ugleepen | January 8, 2017

Work Smarter – Not Harder The Best Ergonomic Tools

ergo1If physical labor is part of your job description, making smart ergonomic choices about tool usage, lifting weights and other chores can prevent unnecessary pain, says journalist Erica Quinlan, who interviewed Shawn Ehlers, a research assistant at Purdue University.

“No matter what we do physically, we all have ergonomic issues,” Ehlers said. “Ergonomics is a big word that can apply to many things. It is basically anything that provides more comfort or reduced strain.”

Ehlers offered these 5 tips to work smarter:

1. Choose tools that fit you and your task.

2. Avoid excessive bending or twisting of back, wrist, arm, fingers.

3. Reduce duration of strain by using clamps, braces or add-on handles.

4. Consider taking brief breaks throughout the work session.

5. Use technologies that can reduce stress on the body.

There are a lot of individual factors that can determine how someone can get hurt and why, Ehlers said.

Factors include age, gender, strength, body size and shape, history of injuries and personality. 

No matter what factors you face, you can use what Ehlers calls “mechanical advantage” to work smarter, not harder.

“The way our bodies are built, certain postures and ways of holding things benefit us more than others,” he said.

“Holding things closer to your body is always better than holding things away from us. Elbows are always strongest at a 90-degree angle.”

Picking ergonomically appropriate tools can help prevent soreness and injury.

What makes a good ergonomic tool? Ones with the proper grip, handle size and shape for your body are ideal. Any tool that reduces bending, twisting or vibration also is helpful.

“You need to design your own tasks,” Ehlers said. “You’re in charge of doing your work, your way.”

Source: Erica Quinlan

Posted by: ugleepen | December 22, 2016

A Christmas Card Story

This image shows what's widely considered the first mass-produced Christmas card. It was printed in London in 1843.

This image shows what’s widely considered the first mass-produced Christmas card. It was printed in London in 1843.

Homemade and handwritten Christmas cards were popular in Victorian England. Beautiful, or at least precise, handwriting was considered a badge of honor, and Christmas greeting cards were one way to show off this skill.

Then Sir Henry Cole had an idea to speed up his own seasonal card-writing process.

Taking advantage of new printing technologies, Cole commissioned artist John Callcott Horsley to create a festive design, and produced about 1,000 copies of that Christmas card in 1843.

After Cole used the cards he needed, he sold the rest for one shilling each.

That card (seen above) is widely considered the first commercially produced Christmas card. Today, about 20 copies survive in libraries and archives

In Horsley’s illustration, a family celebrates at center, but lest you forget the charitable side of Christmas spirit, they’re flanked by images of people feeding and clothing the poor.

There’s also a banner that reads “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.”

xmas-american-cardThe trend quickly migrated to the United States. Another early Christmas card (above), that was printed in Philadelphia around 1850, similarly shows a family of five around a hearth, while a servant in the background seems to be setting the table. The family is surrounded by food, drink, dancers and snow-covered houses.

The U.S. Greeting Card Association predicts Americans will send about 1.6 billion Christmas cards this year. This multimillion-dollar industry can thank Sir Henry Cole for its innovative beginnings almost 200 years ago.

 

Source: Megan Gannon, News Editor/ Live Science

Posted by: ugleepen | December 9, 2016

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and the Holidays – 5 Tips

woman-prevents-hand-pain-and-wrist-pain-during-holidays-with-carpal-tunnel-treatment-decorates-cookies-with-style-and-joy-and-no-hand-numbnessCarpal Tunnel Syndrome, CTS, occurs when repetitive stress to the hand and wrist cause the major nerve that passes over the carpal bones to be compressed.

This condition is painful and causes tingling and numbness in the hands, common symptoms of CTS.

With sore hands, numbness and wrist pain many of the activities of the holidays become difficult to perform, and often result in even  more pain.

How to enjoy the Holidays in spite of CTS? Here are some tips:

1- Take breaks to stretch your hands and fingers and rest during the day.

You will get more done with less pain if you take breaks to recover. You should rest and stretch at least every two hours.

2- There are many different types of hand stretches and exercises that are good for your hands.

One to stay away from is the so called “stress ball” squeeze. Ironically this is probably the worst thing you can do for your hands for CTS relief. Instead of relieving stress, it creates more stress on the compressed nerve.

3- A reverse flex with a wide elastic band around your finger tips and thumb nail “opposite of a squeeze” is one of the best gentle stretching exercises for CTS  prevention.

4- The best way to do any stretch, is to stretch gently and then hold the gentle stretch for only about 5 – 10 seconds.

Then release and rest for 5 seconds and repeat the stretch for 10 – 15 repetitions. Long intense stretching can do more damage than good for injured soft tissue.

5- Let someone else do the heavy lifting..

There are a number of things people can do proactively to avoid the increased discomfort at this busy time.

Follow these tips and you can enjoy the holiday season to the fullest without pain, without dropping things and without the sleep loss commonly associated with CTS.

 

Source: First Hand Medical

 

 

 

Posted by: ugleepen | November 22, 2016

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Part 2 – Nip It In the Bud

budIn Part 1 of our two-part article about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) we looked at basic symptoms of the syndrome, the causes, and some of the, perhaps surprising, jobs that are high risk for developing CTS.

Here in Part 2 we will continue our discussion of risky activities, and then look at ways of preventing, or at least minimizing, the impact of CTS.

If you are retired don’t think you’re exempt from developing CTS.

People who engage intensively in these domestic activities are at risk for CTS:

  • knitting, sewing and needlepoint
  • cooking and housework
  • carpentry and other types of woodworking
  • extensive use of power tools

Many leisure activities in the home can contribute to the development of CTS, including:

  • computer games
  • sports
  • card playing

So much for the bad news – now for the good. Here are some tips for “nipping CTS in the bud.”

The first thing is to be aware that you are involved in high-risk activities for CTS.

Then there are ways to give your hand and wrist relief:

  1. Take frequent breaks to rest and relax the hand and wrist
  2. Give the hand a rest by learning how to use your non-dominate hand
  3. Learn easy exercises to strengthen the wrist
  4. Use good ergonomics in the workplace

Whenever you write, whether its something you do a lot for a living, or just writing your grocery list, use an ergonomic pen  such as my UGLee Pen.

A pen such as mine will be a rest for the hand, and thus won’t aggravate CTS, or cause added stress and strain on the hand.

Any time you can let your hand and wrist rest, no matter what activity you are involved in, you’ll diminish the opportunity for Carpel Tunnel Syndrome to surface.

 

Posted by: ugleepen | November 10, 2016

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Part 1 – Surprising At-Risk Jobs

renton-737-moving-line-opening-2002Do you do work that causes repeated stress on your hand and wrist?

If so, you would be wise to watch for symptoms of carpel tunnel syndrome (CTS) – aching, pain, tingling, numbness – and nip it in the bud.

Researchers have defined six key risk factors in the workplace for the development of carpal tunnel syndrome:

(1) repetition

(2) high force

(3) awkward joint posture

(4) direct pressure

(5) vibration

(6) prolonged constrained posture

Recent work place studies show that jobs that are high risk for CTS include occupations that combine force and repetition of the same motion in the fingers and hand for long periods.

Such workers include:

  • meat and fish packing industries
  • workers using vibrating tools, such as jackhammers and chain saws.
  • assembly lines, from assembling airplanes to food and beverage processing
  • cake decorators
  • postal workers
  • dentists and dental technicians.

And, most people are aware that office workers using computer keyboards, and the computer mouse, are developing CTS.

Many of these workers may not even be aware of the amount of force they exert while performing their jobs. For example, the fingers of typists whose speed is 60 words per minute exert up to 25 tons of pressure each day – can you believe it?

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