Left- handers (also sometimes called Southpaws) can be the brunt of jokes all year long because of their unique hand dominance. But they get to have the last laugh as they have their own day where they are celebrated on the 13th of August each year. There seem to be many myths surrounding left-handedness. The most common one being that left-handed people function on the right side of the brain, therefore they are in their right mind.
Lefties are said to be good at complex reasoning, resulting in a high number of lefty Noble Prize winners, writers, artists, musicians, architects and mathematicians. According to research, lefties appear to be better at divergent thinking and can multitask better than righties.
Many people are born right-handed, but you can always improve the function of your left hand by doing exercises to strengthen it. On International Lefthanders Day explore the world of being a leftie for a day. Challenge yourself to experience what it feels like to be left-handed, plus, you’ll be strengthening your left-hand muscles too.
1. Learn a Musical Instrument
Learning to play a clarinet, flute, guitar, piano or violin, for example, can help flex your fingers and work your hand muscles. If this seems too challenging, listen to music and clap your hands or snap your fingers along to the beat.
2. Make a Fist
Squeeze inward on the fist as hard as you can manage. Hold for three to five seconds, and release slowly. Do the same with the other hand, and repeat five times for each. This will help increase dexterity.
3. Practice Handwriting
Start with picking up a pencil or pen without your thumb, and try to write. This fun exercise gives your brain a workout, too. Then, write with your non-dominant hand, which is more likely to lose dexterity faster than your dominant hand. Try this a couple of times each day.
4. Sort Small Items
Use beads, buttons, coins, jewelry, pasta shapes, seeds – anything that can be picked up and sorted. Use small cups or empty ice cube trays to keep the pieces when you’re sorting.
5. Take Up Origami
This paper-folding craft is colourful and fun. Get some folding paper and origami designs to get started, either online or in a book. While you work your fingers, you’ll end up with colorful paper flowers, animals, boxes, and other fun designs.
6. Try Knitting and Sewing
Not only can you create fun and useful items, but sewing and knitting can also make your fingers more dexterous. Try other needlecrafts also like crochet, cross stitching and needlepoint, or non-needle crafts such as macrame.
7. Use Clay or Putty
Working your fingers with clay or putty can help you improve and maintain dexterity. Make shapes, use small cookie cutters or roll the material out into lengths. Some seniors may want to mix coins, buttons, or beads into the clay, then dig them out to work your fingers.
Around 10 percent of the world’s population is made up of left-handed people. Simple chores like using a pair of scissors or using the mouse-pad on a computer can be inconvenient for most left-handers. Therefore, it is only fitting that a day be set aside for their tribe, which includes Isaac Newton, Pablo Picasso, Barack Obama and Jimi Hendrix, the world’s greatest left-handed guitarist.
Training your non-dominant hand to get better at doing certain things can be beneficial — as long as you do it to complement your dominant hand’s function, not to replace it.