We’ve all gone through those long endless hours of work sitting in front of our computers. These continuous hours of scrolling and typing can take a toll on your hands and wrist.
In the era of tech-specific office work, it is essential to exercise your hand and wrist to avoid any injury and stay flexible.
Computer users mostly keep doing repetitive activities like typing, scrolling or maneuvering the mouse.
These gestures at a glance might look user-friendly, but repeating them continuously throughout the day can spell a red flag to your body, especially your hand and the wrist.
Before we dive into the top hand and wrist exercises for computer users, have a look at the common types of injuries experienced by computer users at their workplace:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- Tennis Elbow.
- Disc Injuries.
- Mouse Shoulder.
- Repetitive Strain Injury.
- Computer Back.
- Lumbar Sprains.
According to a study in 2008, it has been mentioned that long hours of working in front of a computer can lead to or aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome in an individual.
Benefits of Hand Exercises for your Health – Evidence
Numerous research states there is enough evidence of the benefits of hand exercises for your health. Exercises in the form of yoga, light sessions of strength training, and massage help treat carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury (RSI) too.
As per a study performed on several patients having carpal tunnel syndrome in 2011, it could be seen the grip strength and general physical examinations scores went up by almost 21% in the patients during the first month and about 34% by the third month.
It was proved that hand exercises like using an exercise ball are ideal for patients and they should be considered as a practical treatment for Hemodialysis patients having mild CTS before going for more invasive treatments.
A large number of clinics use different kinds of non-surgical procedures in the form of hand exercises to treat mild hand and wrist injuries. Hand exercises are very essential to keep your hands and wrist away from any incoming injury.
Benefits of Hand Exercises:
- Relieves pain and discomfort.
- Improved blood circulation.
- Releases tension, mental blocks, and cramps.
- Improves the range of motion of your wrist and hands.
Simple hand exercises won’t cost you much time and they are powerful in helping you treat hand and wrist injuries.
8 Hand & Wrist Exercises for Computer Users
Have a look at the complete list of hand and wrist exercises that are beneficial for people spending a lot of time in front of their computer screen:
1. Fist to Fan
This exercise of fist to hand stretch is an effective way of stretching out your hand completely. The exercise helps to reduce joint and muscle stiffness.
1. Start with the hands in front of you, while the palms face down.
2. Try making a fist with both your hands.
3. Open your fist halfway; this will lead to the fingers bent at the knuckles. Hold it for about two seconds in terms of duration.
4. Open your hands completely, this way all the fingers are spread wide apart and straight. In terms of duration, hold it for about two seconds.
5. Make a fist again and try repeating the routine.
6. Repeat the routine about 5 times.
2. Shake It Out
Shaking out your hands and wrist after being stationary for some time can result in raising blood flow and help ease stiff joints:
1. You can proceed by keeping the hands in front of you, while the palms face downwards.
2. Shake your hands gently by allowing your wrist to go limp.
3. Keep on continuing this for about 10-15 seconds.
4. Repeat this particular exercise 3 times.
3. Thumb Touches
This exercise in the form of thumb touches is essential for computer users as they help to increase coordination between your thumb and forefingers. Additionally, raising blood flow back to the area:
1. Hold the hands outwards as the palm needs to be facing the ceiling.
2. In the right hand, try bringing your thumb to touch the tip of each finger.
3. Repeat the same process in your left hand.
4. Get back to the original position of hands outwards while the palms face the ceiling.
5. Repeat the exercise of touching the tip of every finger with the thumbs on both hands.
4. Wrist Stretch
A wrist stretch is an essential and imperative way to ease stiff joints in your wrist, especially when you’ve been in front of the computer for long hours by writing and typing repetitively:
1. Hold the right hand in front of you, while the palm faces upwards.
2. All four fingers need to be gripped by the other hand.
3. Slowly pull your finger down facing the floor.
4. Keep a hold on the stretch for around 10 seconds; release the hand back to its original position later on.
5. Repeat the same exercise with your left hand by holding the stretch for 10 seconds.
6. Now, repeat the same exercise about five times.
5. Grip Strengthening
Grip strengthening is a powerful exercise to increase your forearm and hand strength. When you work on your grip, it leads to strengthening wrist muscles too as it can help you avoid RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury):
1. Try being in a seated position in which the right arm is provided enough support via a table.
2. Begin by either holding a stress ball or hand gripper.
3. Squeeze it hard and release the gripper with the help of all the fingers and thumb in rapid succession.
4. Repeat this essential hand exercise 10-15 times, until you feel a slight stretch in the bottom portion of the forearm.
5. Repeat this particular exercise with the other hand.
6. Thumb Flexion & Extension
Thumb flexion and extension are known to be very effective for your thumb, which can get stiff due to additional work pressure:
1. Start it by keeping your hands out in front with your palm facing outwards.
2. Gently extend your thumb across the palm till you feel a stretch.
3. Hold this stretch for about ten seconds in total, then release and go back to the natural starting position.
4. Repeat this exercise ten times with both your hands.
7. Wrist Flexion & Extension (1)
In this particular hand exercise, it lets you stretch the wrist and helps in increasing blood flow to the complete area and tackle issues like Carpal tunnel syndrome and RSI:
1. Be in a seated position with both feet placed flat on the floor.
2. Rest one arm at the edge of the desk with the palm facing downwards and your whole hand dangling off the edge of the desk. You can cushion the wrist with the help of a towel in case you feel more comfortable that way.
3. Slowly stretch your hand in an upward direction at the wrist by facing the ceiling, until you get a feeling of a stretch.
4. Keep hold of this stretch for about fifteen seconds, and then slowly release it back to its original position.
5. After this, try to flex the hands downwards at the wrist facing the floor till the time you get a stretch feel.
6. For both directions, repeating the stretch thrice is recommended.
7. Repeat the exercise by switching hands.
8. Wrist Flexion & Extension (2)
This is an outstanding exercise to stretch the complete forearm in a single try. Additionally, it is very helpful in relieving stiff joints.
1. You can start by either being in a seated or standing position, while both your feet are placed flat on the floor.
2. The arms need to be raised till they are parallel to the floor in front of you and the palm should be facing downwards.
3. The wrist should be bent downwards and the fingers closed loosely to make it look like a claw. Continue it till you feel a certain stretch in the wrist.
4. Keep hold of this stretch for a 10-second duration.
5. Now, with the fingers loosely together and open, flex the wrist in an upward way just like a traffic cop controlling and telling cars to immediately stop. You should be feeling a stretch in the forearms and wrists by now.
6. Keep holding this stretch for ten seconds or more, in case you can.
7. Go back to the original position.
8. Repeat the fantastic exercise five times with both your hands.
Working in an office or anywhere has gone for a drastic transformation over the years. Long back, the work culture revolved around pulling and shifting load.
This has changed to the current era where every profession somehow is engaged in computer work with continuous scrolling and typing, resulting in wrist and hand pain.
To sort this out, hand-wrist exercises are your best friend as there is proven evidence in tackling pain and discomfort in the hand and your wrist.
There are numerous exercises that we have suggested above in the article that would help you avoid carpal tunnel syndrome or even a repetitive strain injury.
Moreover, getting an ergonomic mouse does improve your chances of staying away from any strain or injury.