Create strength and flexibility
A wrist workout could be the ticket if you suffer from weak or aching wrists. Many workers perform a variety of duties that involve the wrists. These repetitive motions can take their toll. Learn how to strengthen your wrists.
What do push-ups, grasping a coffee mug, and typing have in common? Each of these movements requires the use of strong, healthy wrists. We rarely give a thought to this important body part unless we experience pain or injury. Let’s focus on this neglected area and keep our wrists fit with this easy wrist workout.
Our wrists are made up of an intricate number of moving bones surrounded by muscle, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. In order to move freely, each part is bathed in a fluid that lubricates our hinges and allows for optimal movement.
Yet with continuous, repetitive motions the fluid depletes, cartilage breaks down, and tendons, ligaments, and bones create friction that may lead to inflammation or injury.
Some repetitive activities also require isolated wrist movements that tighten overused muscles in our forearms while they lengthen and weaken others, creating stiff, painful wrists.
Think about the main activity we do at our desk. We type. A 2007 study found that 30 percent of office workers who use their computers for four hours or more a day complain of wrist injuries. It’s unsurprising considering that the average person types 50,000 to 200,000 keystrokes a day. The repetitive motion of our fingers, typing with vigour, and isolating our wrists in one frozen position, leads to repetitive strain injuries.
|calcium and vitamin D||calcium increases bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis; vitamin D facilitates calcium absorption—without it, the beneficial effects of calcium would be lost|
|collagen||may protect cartilage and reduce risk of osteoarthritis|
|eggshell membrane||reduces pain and stiffness in joints|
|glucosamine and chondroitin||used to reduce joint pain often associated with osteoarthritis|
Stretching elongates constricted muscles in the fingers and wrists and increases our wrist mobility. Take quick computer breaks to do these stretches. Breaks also allow our joints the time to replenish much needed synovial fluid.
Common workouts often include push-ups and dips. These exercises force our wrists into an exaggerated extension and compress the joint. Upper body exercise alternatives continue to benefit our health and simultaneously strengthen our wrists while preventing inflammation and injury.
You’ll need light weights (5 to 10 lb).
The chest press is a great push-up alternative. During this exercise we focus on keeping our wrists straight, a task that may be hard if we have weaknesses in our forearm muscles. If wrists start to bend (palms begin to face upward) this is a sign that our wrist extensors (muscles located on our forearm knuckle side) are tight and our forearm flexors are weak or overstretched. By learning to keep the dumbbell straight, we balance the muscles that may be giving us wrist pain.
This arm exercise is just as effective at toning the back of our arms as body weight exercises that compress the wrists. It also includes a great lesson on wrist awareness. During motions that ask our forearm to flex and extend in isolation from the rest of our body, we automatically move our wrists as well. Focus on keeping the wrists frozen while moving the forearm and you’ll begin to create awareness of how to move your muscles independently and reduce unnecessary overuse.
Why not add an exercise to our workout that creates strong, healthy wrists? Upper body exercises that incorporate twisting motions strengthen the forearm muscles evenly, giving weak muscles the opportunity to catch up.
To save time, do this wrist-strengthening exercise while seated at your desk. Use water bottles if you can’t bring weights to work.