There are a lot of us who spend the majority of our workday at our desk. While we love and admire a good work ethic, not taking the occasional break can lead to some serious health problems. Plus, it's not like we really take a break once we're off of work. We're usually on our phones, still typing away and overworking our hands and fingers. That's where hand stretches become really important.
"When you're sitting at your desk at a 9-to-5 job, you should take time, about three to five minutes, and stretch your arms and your hands and your forearms," says physical therapist Scott A. Weiss, DPT, ATC, CSCS. "Proper stretching can help ward off tendinitis and nerve entrapments of the wrist and hand."
We asked Weiss to walk us through three hand stretches we can do at our desks so that we can give our hands the break we need without taking time away from our work that needs to be done. He suggests doing each stretch for 30 seconds to a minute.
"It's very important to make sure to get across to readers that stretching is not about intensity; it's about duration," he says. You can't really stretch wrong, but he says to remember to keep everything straight to get the most of your stretch. With those things in mind, you should be good to go.
Scroll down to see the three hand stretches you should be doing at your desk every day.
"If you take one or your hands and put your hand straight out, elbow straight out in front of you at about your chest level, with your palms facing up, almost like you're asking for a tip, aim your finger down, toward the ground. Then, you're going to be grabbing your fingers and pulling your fingers back to you, to your body. That stretches the inside of your forearm or the elbow," Weiss says.
"Put your palm face down, you angle your fingers down toward the ground again, but now your wrist is facing the sky, you aim your finger at an angle. If it's your left hand, you aim your fingers to where 7:00 would be. If it's your right hand, you angle your fingers where 5:00 would be. And now you're pulling more of your wrist, or your fingers and wrist, to your body again," says Weiss.
This stretch focuses on the thumbs. "Similar to the starting position that we did before with the palm up, this time, with your left palm facing the sky, you're going to take your right hand, come underneath your forearm, and grab your thumb and pull that back and down toward you," says Weiss.