If your workplace lifestyle is substantially sedentary and, as a result, you spend a lot of time working on the PC, your wrists, palms, and fingers might start bearing the brunt.
And this discomfort comes in form of serious strain. The pressure applied while typing on the keyboard might also lead to muscle aches and, if utmost care is not taken, can adversely affect your level of productivity both at work and at home.
Some of these deficiencies can go sideways and you'll have to seek medical care, for example, the collar ligament irritation which some folks also call "mouse shoulder". It spreads excruciating pain from your shoulder into
your upper back, hand, and arms.
However, we have some simple remedies you can use to enhance your health, maintain the mobility of your wrists, and boost employee efficiency. These stretches and exercises will also promote the flexibility of your hands. Let's get started.
Is Stretching Your Hands and Wrists Worth It?
Of course, it's worth it! The last time you suffered pain in any part of your body, you should remember how uncomfortable and frustrating it was. How much more are your hands and wrists?
Accomplishing simple tasks like working on your laptop might be a bitter pill to swallow. Whereas, health is wealth. So you need these strengthening exercises to build your muscle strength and reduce stiffness.
If your budget allows it, you can also complement your workstation with an ergonomic solution like ergonomic wrist rest. You'll surely love how comforting and great the equipment is!
And to the employers out there, you need to invest in items that'll make working easier and more fun-filled for your employees. For instance, a mouse platform will give their wrists maximum support as they type.
Stretching your hands and wrists will also minimize the risks of injury. However, we'll strongly recommend that you don't engage in these exercises if you're suffering from a particular joint injury or infection, except it's
prescribed by your medical expert.
Moreover, stretching is an essential way to boost the amount of blood pumping and flowing towards your hand. Through this, the muscle fibers will be revived and they'll be filled with the needed oxygenated blood to do
a perfect job.
It has even been medically proven that simple exercises and stretches reduce your risks of pain and arthritis-related tension. So what else are you waiting for? Let's start exercising!
Effective Hand and Wrist Stretches
Below is a collection of the most relieving carpal tunnel wrist stretches and exercises you can't afford to miss.
And if your daily tasks demand typing on a keyboard or using the mouse frequently, you should check them out.
Fist to Fan
As simple as it looks, this stretch is one of the best ways to extend your whole hand. Additionally, it'll also ensure that the repetitive motions at work don't lead to stiffness not only in your muscles but also in the joints.
Here's how we roll:
- Start by positioning your hands beside you with the palms facing the ground.
- Build a fist with the two wrists.
- Release the fist a bit and slightly bend the fingers at the knuckles positions.
- Pause for two seconds.
- Now, your hands should be fully extended and all 5 fingers on each have completely erect and free.
- You can pause for another two seconds.
- Go over the fist-making cycle once more until you're satisfied.
Shake It All Out!
Have you been working in one particular position all day? Then it's time you shake and free your hands and wrists.
What's the benefit of this stretch? It helps to fire up your level of blood circulation. It also releases and relieves the tight joints.
The first step here is to reach your forearms forward and make sure your palms are down.
Free your wrist and apply slight pressure on your hands to start shaking. Gentle shaking, please.
Do this for 15 to 20 seconds per cycle.
Repeat it another 3 times.
Praying Position Stretches
As the name suggests, this wrist and hand stretch requires you to bring your hands together, like you do when you want to pray.
- Your elbows should also be touching each other.
- Make sure that the hands are fully laid on your face.
- Starting from your fingertips to your elbows, the arms should also touch each other.
- Press your palms together. Then steadily and gradually push your elbows apart.
- Meanwhile, do this with elbows spreading while bringing the hands down to the waist level. Has to be simultaneous.
- Stop once you feel the stretch or the hands are directly opposite your belly button.
- Maintain that position for 10 to 30 seconds. Go again!
- Release one of your arms to your front and place it at shoulder height.
- The palm should be placed downwards. Facing the floor.
- Release the pressure on your wrist for your fingers to point downward.
- With your other hand (it should be free), gently but firmly hold your fingers and draw them toward your full body.
- Maintain the position for 10 to 30 seconds and you can repeat if you want to.
This position is aimed at stretching you in the opposite direction. So here's how to do it:
- Bring your arm forward by placing the palm upward. Facing the ceiling.
- Use your other free hand to gently but firmly press down the fingers. That is, towards the floor.
- Pull back the fingers towards your body. Don't forget to be flexible while releasing or pulling back.
- Maintain the position for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Repeat the same stretch for the other free arm.
- Don't forget to cycle through the exercises 2 or 3 times with each arm.
Tennis Ball Squeeze
The logic behind this stretch is to wake up the muscles in your wrists and make the wrists stronger. However, this doesn't mean that you have to feel pain while doing it.
- Very simple. All you have to do is squeeze a stress ball or tennis ball for 5 to 15 seconds.
This wrist and hand stretch is divided into two phases. One for the push exercise and the other for the pull exercise.
- Build a clenched fist and point out your thumb like you want to give your friend a thumbs-up sign.
- Make some resistance with your thumb and muscles around your hand. This will freeze your thumb from moving.
- Use the free hand to easily pull back your thumb.
- Maintain the position for 10 to 15 seconds and repeat.
- Build a clenched fist and point out your thumb.
- Make some resistance using the muscles around your hand and thumb. This is to keep the thumb pointed up and facing the ceiling.
- Use the free hand to easily pull the thumb forward.
- Maintain the position for 10 to 15 seconds and repeat.
Photo Credit: WebMD
Flexing and Expanding the Thumb
Here is an excellent technique to give your thumb the full support that allows healthier blood circulation.
So if your thumb gets tight due to the rigorous tasks it undergoes during those extended work hours, follow these steps.
Give your palms full extension and place the two hands right next to you. On your side.
With ease, use your thumb to expand the palm until you feel it tight.
Hold the position for 10 seconds before you release it and start the stretch again.
Use your two hands to perform this exercise 10 to 15 times.
Flexing and Expanding the Wrist
This exercise is directly similar to the above-discussed one, just that this requires a wrist. The medical advantage here's that your blood circulation level fires up.
And you'll be free from complications like carpal tunnel syndrome or RSI. Now, let's walk through the steps:
- Get a comfortable but plane level to sit on and make sure your two feet are well-placed on the floor.
- Now, your hand should be directly beside you (pointing down) while your entire hand hangs off the side of your workspace, and place one arm there.
- If it'll help, you can get a little fabric to cover your wrist.
- Hold the stretch to 15 seconds, release it, and go back to the beginning position.
Meanwhile, if your line of work demands drawing, using the computer, or executing manual labor for extended hours, you should note that you're prone to long-term health complications like tendonitis.
But with this wrist flexion and expansion stretch, you've got no cause for alarm. It'll also help you tone down muscle fatigue and you'll live a healthy life both at home and at work.
All the stretches and exercises discussed above are quite simple, so it doesn't matter your age or how fragile you think you are. It's a package that works for everyone.
However, you shouldn't forget to reach out to a medical practitioner if the pain and discomforts continue even after observing any of these stretches.