Ergonomic Standing Desks and Chairs

"Best Standing Desk" - Techradar, for 3 Years Running | Free Shipping | 30 Day Free Returns

5 Hand and Wrist Exercises for Computer Users to Reduce the Risk of Repetitive Injuries

21 November 2023

Over the last fifty years, there has been a significant shift in workplace dynamics. Today, most jobs are based on technology instead of manual work, which may have reduced the risk of several health concerns. However, the use of technology in everyday work practices can cause individuals to make awkward yet repetitive movements that often lead to pain and stiffness.

According to statistics, more than half a million employees with a desk job each year have to take time off from work due to repetitive strain injuries and movement-related concerns of the hands, including using a mouse, typing on the keyboard and swiping on touch screens. While they may seem harmless, when performed hundreds and thousands of times over a day for several weeks and years, they often lead to repetitive strain injuries and musculoskeletal concerns.

If your job requires you to work on the computer frequently, then it's essential for you to know exercises that help keep your hands and wrists strong and flexible so you can reduce the risk of repetitive injuries. In what follows, we share five simple hand and wrist exercises for computer users that can help reduce their risk of repetitive strain injuries. You can try out these simple stretches at home or work; however, if you already experience pain and discomfort in your wrist and hands, it's best to consult your healthcare practitioner before trying out these stretches.


5 Simple Hand and Wrist Exercises for Computer Users to Reduce Your Risk of Repetitive Strain Injuries

Let's delve into some simple yet effective hand and wrist exercises that you can try at home or at your desk to reduce your risk of repetitive strain injuries.

1. Shake Your Hands

One of the easiest yet most effective exercises that computer users can conveniently try at their desks is shaking their hands. The exercise involves shaking out your hands and wrists following a period of staying in the same position. The exercise is a great way to improve the blood flow in your hands which aids in relieving aches and pain and helps reduce the risk of stiffness in muscles and small joints.

Here's how you can go about this exercise.

Start by stretching your hands out in front of you such that your palms are facing the floor,

Now start shaking your hands and let your wrist relax,

Continue the movement for 10-15 seconds before taking a 30-sec break,

Repeat at least two-three times.

2. Stretch Up the Hands

Another easy and effective hand exercise you can try while working to reduce your risk of repetitive strain injuries is the hand stretching exercise. The exercise allows you to stretch out your entire hand, which aids in alleviating joint and muscle stiffness and strengthening them so you can reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries.

Here's how you can try out this exercise at your desk.

Stretch your hands in front of you with palms facing the floor,

Both your hands should make a fist,

Now open your fist halfway such that your fingers are bent at the knuckle joint downwards,

Hold this position for a count till five,

Now fully open your fist, so your fingers are straight,

Spread your fingers apart and hold the position for a count till five.

Repeat the entire process at least five times for stronger hand and finger muscles.

3. Wrist and Finger Stretch

One of the simplest stretching exercises that you can try out to prevent painful repetitive strain injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome is the basic wrist stretch. It aids in easing up your joints and muscles in the wrist especially following long days of typing and manoeuvring the mouse.

Here's how you can go about this basic wrist and finger stretch.

Place your left hand in front of you such that your palm is facing the floor,

Hold your four fingers using your right hand and gently pull the fingers up with your opposing hand,

Hold the stretch for ten seconds before you release the hand back to the starting position,

Repeat the process with your right hand and hold for ten seconds before you release your hand.

Continue to do this basic wrist and finger stretch and repeat five times for stronger wrist and finger muscles.

4. Wrist Flexion and Extension Stretch

Wrist flexion and extension stretch is one of the great stretches for stimulating the blood flow in your hand muscles. Moreover, it helps increase your wrist's flexibility and range of motion. Furthermore, wrist flexion and extension stretch makes one of the best exercises for relieving muscle soreness.

To do this stretch, you need to

Stay seated or get into a standing position with both your feet flat on the ground,

Raise your arm such that your arms in front of you and parallel to the floor with your palms facing the ground.

Form a fist with your hand and bend your fist downwards,

Hold the stretch for ten seconds before you bend your fist upwards,

Again, hold this stretch for ten seconds before returning to the original position.

Repeat at least five times, multiple times during the day, for stronger wrist and hand muscles.

5. Hand Strengthening Through Gripping

One of the last stretches that we look at is the gripping stretch. It makes an excellent stretch for strengthening your hand, wrist and forearm. Only when you have stronger hand muscles will you be able to reduce your risk of repetitive strain injuries.

Here's how you can incorporate this hand-strengthening stretch into your routine.

Start by being seated with one of your arms supported by a table,

Use the same hand to hold a stress ball or a hand gripper,

If you are using a handball, squeeze the ball using your fingers and thumb at least ten times in a rapid motion. You will feel a stretch at the bottom of your forearm.

Repeat the same process with your other hand.

Start by supporting your hand with the table before you grip the object and work with it.



What More Do Computer Users Need to Do to Reduce the Risk of Repetitive Strain Injuries?

Apart from incorporating these hand and wrist exercises, computer users must take a proactive approach to minimize the risk of repetitive strain injuries.

Some of the tips that can help computer users include

Invest in Appropriate Ergonomic Accessories

Along with trying out these simple hand and wrist exercises, computer users must invest in appropriate ergonomic accessories like adjustable keyboard trays. Since accessories help position your wrist and arms comfortably whether you have a conventional desk or a sit-stand workstation. Flexispot offers one of the most reliable adjustable keyboard trays that helps you provide convenience and maximum comfort whether you have a conventional desk or a height-adjustable standing desk. Learn more about the Clamp-on Adjustable Keyboard Tray here.

Incorporate Regular Short Breaks

When you have to spend the entire day working on your computer, don't forget to take short breaks every 30 – 60 minutes. Here taking a break doesn't mean you should stop working altogether. Instead, it means that you need to take a break from continuous mouse or keyboard usage.

Maintain Good Posture

Maintaining good posture is the key to a healthy body for all computer users. Maintaining a good posture takes the pressure off your body and aids in preventing a wide range of musculoskeletal concerns.

When sitting, ensure you are seated at an appropriate height so your legs are firmly placed on the ground. Moreover, ensure that you keep your back straight while being supported by the back of your chair, and your arms should make a 90-degree angle with your desk or chair's armrest.

Final Words

Working on the computer is an inevitable reality of modern-day work. And while it has improved the working conditions in some ways, prolonged use of computers is the leading cause of other health concerns such as repetitive injuries.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce your risk of repetitive injuries if you are a computer user. By incorporating these simple tips and exercises, you can protect your wrists and hands from the negative implications of prolonged computer use. And while you stretch and strengthen your hands and wrists, don't forget to make the most of ergonomic accessories, as they can help you maintain a comfortable wrist and hand position. Moreover, maintain a good posture and take regular breaks to reduce your risk of repetitive strain injuries further.