Your hands are constantly performing tasks throughout the day. From the time you wake up in the morning, you are using your hands to button, zip, press, pull, steer, type, eat, and so much more. With so much to do, it is easy to see how your hands and wrists could begin to feel pain, even leading to carpal tunnel syndrome or other more extreme problems.
In order to prevent injury and alleviate pain in the hands and wrists, check out a few of our favorite exercises that will help strengthen your wrists and keep your hands and fingers flexible.
1. The Praying Position Stretch
The praying position stretch is a great beginner’s exercise that stretches both the hands and wrists. This stretch is simple, effective, and can be performed wherever you are: your desk, your car (while stopped), or at night before tucking yourself in. To complete, simply follow these steps.
- Place your palms together in a praying position.
- Bring your elbows to touch each other. Your hands and arms should be touching each other from the tips of your fingers to your elbows.
- With your palms pressed together, slowly spread your elbows apart. Do this while lowering your hands to waist height. Stop when your hands are in front of your belly button or you feel the stretch.
- Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, then repeat.
2. Wrist Extension and Flexion
For this exercise, you will need to be close to a flat surface (like a countertop or table) and use either a rolled-up towel or other form of padding. The exercise moves your wrist and fingers through their normal ranges of motion and requires all the hand's tendons to perform their specific functions. It should be done slowly and deliberately, to avoid injury.
- Place your forearm on a table on top of a rolled-up towel with your hand hanging off the edge of the table, palm down.
- Move the hand upward until you feel a gentle stretch.
- Return to the starting position.
- Repeat the same motions with the elbow bent at your side, palm facing up.
3. Wrist Supination and Pronation
Similar to the above exercise, you will need a form of padding to perform this. To get the most out of your hand and wrist stretch, try this exercise and the wrist extension and flexion stretch after one another.
- Support your forearm on a table on a rolled-up towel for padding or on your knee, thumb upward.
- Move the wrist up and down through its full range of motion.
4. Desk Press
As the name suggests, you will need a desk or other type of heavy table or countertop to perform this exercise. Intended to build hand and wrist strength, it will help to build the muscles that run from your wrists to your inner elbows.
- While seated, place your palms face up under a desk or table.
- Press upwards against the bottom of the desk.
- Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
5. Clenched Fist Exercise
Hand and wrist exercises like this one increase flexibility and help lower the risk of injury. Stretches are recommended as a preventive measure or to ease slight pain. However, if you are currently nursing an existing injury, it is recommended to skip this exercise.
- While seated, place your open hands on your thighs with palms up.
- Close your hands slowly into fists. Do not clench too tightly.
- With your forearms touching your legs, raise your fists off of your legs and back toward your body, bending at the wrist.
- Hold for 10 seconds.
- Lower your fists and slowly open your fingers wide.
- Repeat 10 times.
Remember to stay diligent with your hand and wrist drills in order to alleviate pain and build your strength up. If pain occurs during any stretches or movements, cease to perform them and speak to your chiropractor about the best methods of exercise for you.