If you're not yet convinced that you need to be caring for your hands, Brannigan says it's more important than you think. "With our increased dependency on technology, our hands are in constant use. It's easy to overlook how much our hands and wrists are working throughout the day. Do you lift weights? You're gripping. Do you carry bags? You're gripping. Do you work at a computer? An overload of typing and mouse work. Do you have a smartphone? You're definitely typing and scrolling on the go," he says. In fact, there's a fair chance that many of us are using our hands literally non-stop until we drift off to sleep.
To help our hands recover from all the use, Brannigan recommends rolling wrist stretches into your normal stretching routine. (You have one, right?) "Stretching should be done, regardless of the area, at least a few minutes every day," he says. "With just five to 10 minutes [of stretching] every day, you can be super productive in caring for the fingers, hands, and wrists. Also, there is no equipment needed, so they can be done as you work at your desk."
Consider this your sign to step away from your to-do list for five minutes and give your hands and fingers some R&R.
Try a stretching expert's 5, go-to hand stretches
1. Finger Flexers
With your palm facing up and your wrist in a stable position, bend your fingers down so they are pointing toward the floor. Hold for two to three seconds before resetting the fingers. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
2. Finger Extenders
Hold your arm out straight in front of you. Make a fist with your palm facing up. Use your other hand to roll the fist in toward you. Hold the stretch for two to three seconds before resetting the wrist. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
3. Finger Spreaders
With your palm facing up, use your other hand to spread your fingers two at a time. Hold the stretch for two to three seconds. Reset the fingers and repeat 10 to 12 times.
4. Wrist Flexers
Place your arms straight out in front of you with your palms facing up. Bend one wrist so the fingers point toward the floor. Use your other hand to gently pull that hand more parallel to your body. Keep the elbow straight. Hold the stretch for two to three seconds before resetting the wrist. Repeat 10 to 12 times, then switch sides.
5. Forearm Twisters
Bend one arm at the elbow. Rotate the forearm in either direction as far as you can. To assist, place your other hand around the forearm and gently help twist it as far as you can without discomfort. Hold that for two top three seconds. Repeat 10 to 12 times.
Wrists aching too? Try this workout:
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