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Hand exercises to ease joint stiffness

Hand exercises to ease joint stiffness


We all know how important it is to stay flexible, especially when it comes to your hands. After all, you rely on them more than any other part of your body to complete everyday tasks.

Your hands are made up of bones, joints and ligaments that can become prone to stiffness, especially as you age. If this happens, even small movements such as opening doors or gripping objects can prove difficult.

So, what can you do to help soothe this stiffness? One simple yet effective way is to incorporate hand and finger exercises into your daily routine. In this article, we walk you through the movements you can do whenever you have a few minutes to spare and why it’s important to keep your hands strong and active to help keep stiffness at bay…

7 simple exercises for your hands and fingers

Exercise 1: Make a fist

Hand exercise 1 make a fist

The beauty of this easy exercise is that you can do it anytime, anywhere, whenever your hands feel stiff.

Start by holding your right hand out with your fingers straight. Then slowly bend your hand into a fist, placing your thumb on the outside of your hand. No need to squeeze, just be gentle.

Then open your hand up until your fingers are straight again.

Do the exercise 10 times with the right hand, then repeat with the left.

Exercise 2: Finger bends
Hand exercise 2 finger bends
Hold your right hand straight and bend your thumb down towards your palm.

Hold for a couple of seconds. Then straighten your thumb back up.

Next, bend your index finger down towards your palm and hold for a couple of seconds. Then straighten it.

Repeat with each finger on the right hand, before repeating the sequence on the left hand.

Exercise 3: Thumb bend
Hand exercise 3 thumb bend

Start by holding your right hand out with straightened fingers. Then bend your thumb inwards towards your palm.

Stretch for the bottom of your little finger with your thumb. Don’t worry if you can’t reach your little finger – just stretch your thumb as far as you can.

Hold the position for a couple of seconds, then return your thumb to its starting position.

Repeat the exercise 10 times, then do the same with your left hand.

Exercise 4: Make an ‘O’
Hand exercise 4 make an O

Straighten out your fingers on your right hand. Curve all your fingers inwards until they touch – your fingers should form the shape of an ‘O’.

Hold this for a few seconds, then straighten your fingers again.

Repeat the exercise on your left hand.

Try and do this exercise a few times a day on each hand.

Exercise 5: Table bend
Hand exercise 5 table bend

Place the edge of your little finger of your right hand on a table, thumb pointed upwards.

Keeping your thumb in the same position, bend the four remaining fingers inwards until your hand makes the shape of an ‘L’.

Hold for a couple of seconds before straightening your fingers and moving them back to the starting position.

Repeat the exercise 10 times, then do the same with your left hand.

Exercise 6: Finger lift
Hand exercise 6 finger lift

Put your right hand flat on a table with your palm facing down.

Starting with your thumb, lift each finger slowly off the table, one after another.

Hold each finger for a couple of seconds before lowering. Repeat with every finger on your right hand.

When you’ve finished on your right hand, repeat on your left.

Exercise 7: Wrist stretch
Hand exercise 7 wrist stretch

Wrists are equally important to consider when exercising your hands.

Hold your right arm out, palm facing downwards, then with your left hand, gently press down on the right hand until you feel a stretch in your wrist and arm.

Hold this position for a few seconds.

Repeat 10 times before doing the entire sequence with your left hand.

How to maximise the benefits of hand and finger exercises

Here are a few recommendations to help get the most out of your hand workouts:

  • Do the exercises throughout the day. Unlike lunges and squats, you can perform these subtle exercises in the queue for the post office, and no one will bat an eyelid. Turn them into a daily habit by doing them every time you boil the kettle, for instance.

  • Don’t overdo it. Be gentle and take it slow. If you feel any pain or tension, stop performing the exercise to avoid injury.

  • Apply moist heat. If you have time, soaking your hands in warm water for 5-10 minutes before doing the exercises can help make the exercises easier to perform. Or why not try wrapping your hands in a towel soaked in hot water before performing these exercises.

  • Relax. Use these exercises as an excuse to relax and be mindful for the time it takes to complete them. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth to bring some calm to your day.

  • Customise your exercises. It’s a good idea to talk through your needs with your doctor, so they can create a tailor-made exercise plan that will work best for your circumstances.

Woman exercising hands as part of workout
Why hand exercises are important

As we mentioned earlier, your hands play a vital role in your everyday tasks. Therefore, it’s important you take care of them, just as you would with workouts for your body. Typing, gripping and other repetitive motions can all result in stiff hands and fingers, so stretching and exercising them as much as possible will help keep them strong, mobile, and able to serve you throughout your life!

Hand exercises can:
  • Strengthen the muscles around the joints for better support

  • Improve the flow of blood to your hands, which warms the muscles and ligaments, and provides them with the oxygen and nutrients they need to keep moving

  • Increase the circulation of synovial fluid, which lubricates and helps cushion the joints to keep them moving smoothly

  • Improve flexibility and range of motion

  • Reduce the risk of injury by elongating the muscles

  • Reduce joint damage

Get extra support from our iMOVE supplement

If your joints are feeling stiff, give the above exercises a try to see if they help. You could also try iMOVE Active, our supplement developed to help soothe stiff joints. It’s made with high-quality ingredients – including Glucosamine, Hyaluronic Acid and our unique ActivEase® Green Lipped Mussel, which provides a unique combination of Omega-3 fatty acids to help soothe stiff joints. Find out more about its benefits here.

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