Before you play a sport or sit down at your desk ready to put in a full day in front of your keyboard, take the time to perform basic warm-up exercises for the hands. Even better, take a break every so often and do these exercises throughout the day to relieve strain, increase strength and enhance range of motion and mobility. A few simple exercises is all it takes to enjoy optimal hand and wrist health.
Clasp the hands in front of you, interlacing your fingers, suggests the Women's Heart Foundation. The palms of your hands should be facing away from the body. Applying gentle pressure, extend the shoulders forward, feeling the stretch through the fingers, hands, and wrists.
Make a fist with each hand and then extend your arms out in front of you. Gently rotate the hand in a clockwise motion 10 times, and then reverse, rotating the hand 10 times in a counterclockwise motion. This will help increase blood flow to the wrists, maintain flexibility and range of motion, and relieve stress caused by long hours of typing, driving or other small range of motion movements.
Sit in a chair with armrests, placing a forearm on each arm of the chair so that your hand drops over the edge of the armrest, suggests Ergocise.com, a website that offers information on ergonomics and body mechanics. Make a fist, with your thumb facing the ceiling. Tuck the thumb into your fist. Inhale and exhale and drop your fists downward toward the floor. Hold that position for a count of 10, and then lift the fist back to the level of the wrist. Open the hand and relax. Repeat this exercise at least five times several times throughout the day.
Shake Your Wrist
Sitting in a chair, rest your hands on your thighs. Raise the hands to chest level and then shake them gently, as if you're shaking water from your hands, Ergocise.com suggests. Continue to shake your hands for about 10 seconds and then allow the hands to return to rest on your thighs. You can do this exercise several times through the day to provide optimal blood flow and relieve hand and wrist tension.
Exercise and warm up the hands and fingers for typing, massage or sports by placing the hands palm side up on a table or desk. At the same time, touch your thumbs to your pinkie fingers, release, and then touch the thumbs to the ring fingers. Release and repeat the thumb touch with your middle and index fingers. After one to two sets, close the hand into a fist, then open the fingers wide. Repeat the exercise sequence several more times, suggests Jill Wigmore-Welsh, a physiotherapist in England. This exercise floods the hands with warmth, increases coordination and relieves stress in the fingers, the palm of the hands and the wrist joint.