Hand and Wrist Exercises for Bloggers

hands1Next to the feet our hands are among the most hard used parts of the body, so it’s not surprising that many bloggers take mobile hands and wrists for granted — until they hurt.  Many of us rely heavily on computers to help us perform our work – for some, dedicated computer work is necessary, while others multi-task throughout the day. Taking preventative measures against developing problems with your wrists and hands due to computer use makes a lot of sense and takes little time or  effort.

Repetitive hand and wrist movement

The hands and the wrist have muscles and joints that are prone to arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Arthritis is acute or chronic inflammation of joints, usually accompanied by pain and stiffness, resulting from infection, trauma, degenerative changes, autoimmune disease, or other causes. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful progressive condition  caused by the compression of the key nerve within the wrist sue to swelling  that can occur if you do repetitive movements with your wrist such as typing on a computer keyboard, using a computer mouse, playing racquetball or handball, sewing, painting, writing, or using a vibrating tool.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Numbness or tingling in your hand and fingers, especially the thumb, index and middle fingers.
  • Pain in your wrist, palm or forearm.
  • More numbness or pain at night than during the day. The pain may be so bad it wakes you up. You may shake or rub your hand to get relief.
  • Pain that increases when you use your hand or wrist more.
  • Trouble gripping objects, such as a doorknob or the steering wheel of a car.
  • Weakness in your thumb.

7 Basic tips for upper body, hand and wrist health for bloggers

  1. Maintain upright posture. Your back should be straight and the top of your monitor should be level with your eyes.  If you have to look down or up, then you need to adjust the height of your screen.
  2. Put the keyboard on a flat surface and adjust your chair so the armrests are low enough that you do not shrug your shoulders and high enough that you do not have to slump to rest your elbows on the armrests.
  3. Adjust the height of your chair so that your forearms are level with your keyboard and you don’t have to flex your wrists to type.
  4. Adjust your keyboard so that you do not have to bend your wrist upward while typing.
  5. Use a thin profile keyboard and/or a palm rest to support the heel of the hand. When your hands are resting on the keyboard, make sure they are in a straight line with the forearm.
  6. Take microbreaks at 20-30 min intervals.
  7. Do hand and wrist exercises periodically throughout the day.

NetworkScience.org, ergonomics expert Dr. Jonathan Bailin says most RSIs (repetitive strain injuries) result from excessive keyboard use. Stretches every 20 to 30 minutes can keep your upper body, hands and wrists loose and help prevent injuries.

5 of the best exercises for keyboarding microbreaks while seated

  1. Shoulder Blade Squeeze is performed by raising your forearms and pointing your hands to the ceiling. Push your arms back, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Hold for at least 5 seconds and repeat 3 times.
  2. Eye Palming is performed by placing your elbows on your desk, cup your hands, close your eyes, and place your eyelids gently down onto your palms. Hold this position for 1 minute while breathing deeply and slowly. Then uncover your eyes slowly.
  3. Arm and Shoulder Shake–drop your hands to your sides then shake your relaxed hands, arms, and shoulders gently for at least 5 seconds and repeat 3 times.
  4. Spanning–place you arms straight in front of you and spread your fingers as far as possible for at least 5 seconds and repeat 5 times. This exercise was made famous by career pianists. With the arms extended in front of you, spanning can be combined with a forearm extensor stretch.
  5. Forearm Extensor Stretch, continue spanning  and extend that exercise by turning the hands so that their backs touch then, turning them so that the palms face the ceiling (“Forearm Flexor Stretch”).

6 hand and wrist exercises  bloggers can do anywhere

1.   Circles – Stretch both arms outwards with fingers together and draw a circle with your hands, rotating them at the wrist.  Five circles in one direction, then five in the opposite direction.

2.   Curls – Curling your wrists will increase flexibility. Hold one arm outward palm facing down. Drop the hand downward at the wrist. Using the palm of the opposite hand, apply pressure to the back of the dropped hand. Hold pressure for five seconds, then relax. Repeat three times for each hand.

3.   Wrist rotation – Rotating your wrists will increase motion range. Begin by making a fist. Then slowly rotate your wrists. Rotate both the fists together ten times in the clockwise direction and ten times in the anticlockwise direction. Do ensure that only your fists are rotating and the rest of your arms are stationery.

4.   Wrist extension -  Hold one arm outward palm facing down.   Raise the hand up as though you were telling someone to stop. Using the opposite hand, apply pressure to the palm of the raised hand. Hold pressure for five seconds, then relax. Repeat for a total of three times per hand.

5.   Thumb stretches – Place your hand  in a position similar to the wrist extension, gently apply pressure using the other hand to the extended thumb in a back and downward direction. Hold for five seconds and relax. Repeat this three times per hand.

6.   Hand and finger stretch – Stretching your fingers will lead to relaxing your hands. Begin by making a fist. Then stretch and spread out your fingers as far out as possible. Hold that position for a couple of minutes. Repeat this exercise 5-10 times.

The Complete Hand Workout” DVD teaches intermediate Finger Fitness exercises using an aerobic follow along dance style. Finger Fitness is an exercise concept developed by Greg Irwin to help improve the strength, dexterity and coordination of your hands. It is great for musicians, typists, athletes, video gamers etc.

The Dance #2 video  from the DVD “The Complete hand Workout” will give you an idea of what the aerobic style finger fitness exercises are like.  For more information about Greg Irwin or Finger Fitness visit http://www.HandHealth.com


Hand Exercises for Rheumatoid Arthritis – 7 hand-stretching exercises to ease rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

Slide show:  Hand exercises for people with arthritis – Hand exercises may help improve muscle strength and joint range of motion in people who have arthritis. You can do hand exercises daily or, preferably, several times a day.

Discussion

This summer I had hands and wrists that hurt (arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome).  I took some time away from the keyboard. I  made some ergonomic adjustments to my chair and my keyboard positioning. When I returned to the keyboard I began a hand and wrist exercise routine that I now practice throughout the day when I’m working online.

How much time do you spend at the keyboard before taking a microbreak ?

Do you have shoulders, arms, hands and/or wrists that hurt?

Do you do any exercises like the ones recommended above?

Related post: 5 Ways To Avoid The Ill Effects Of Blogging

35 thoughts on “Hand and Wrist Exercises for Bloggers

  1. Pingback: Blogging and Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) AKA Digital Eye Strain | one cool site

    • Great tip. Thanks for sharing it. :)
      My keypad and mouse are 6 inches below the desk top. I have a roll out shelf for them.

      • Sure thing. I have an old desk that my parents got me as a wedding present years ago. I added my own “shelf” to it which I can remove easily if I ever decide to. Necessity is the mother of invention. I wish I had done it a long time ago! Divorce has made me very handy around the house.

        • I have both arthritis and carpal tunnel issues and I do these exercises every day. My computer desk is an old one but I like it far better than what’s available now. When I use anyone else’s computer desk set up my wrists hurt, so that’s why it’s not likely that I will give mine up.

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  3. Pingback: Tips for Organized Blogging « one cool site

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  5. you have handled a very different topic related to blogging.. and I think these exercises will benefit anyone who has to use the computer as a part of their job..

    • I have been a blogger for over 6 years now and the content in this blog dates back to 2007. As I have covered blogging basics and as I’m aware of my reader’s needs I’m now able to publish on important related topics like this one. I hope you will share the link to my post with others. And, I thank you for your comment.

  6. Pingback: Hand and Wrist Exercises for Bloggers « My Web Log

  7. Thanks a lot for this TiTi. I also spend most of my day in front of a computer. I am quite young now so it would be troublesome to have those kinds of problems from now. I was aware of some of the problems but now that you detailed the outcomes, I am more determined to keep in mind the exercises.

    And, I hate to be a bugger but I think that there is an incomplete sentence in the point no. 4 under the heading “5 of the best exercises for keyboarding microbreaks while seated”.

    Regards,
    Arnab.

    • Hi Arnab,
      I didn’t pay any attention at all to my hands and wrists until they hurt. I have found these exercises are effective. Now I taking micro-breaks and doing them the pain I had is subsiding. Please do take care of your hands and wrists now and you won’t be sorry later.

      P.S. I have edited as you suggested.

  8. I have Ulnar Nerve Entrapment (numbness in baby finger of my right hand). It was aggravated by using the mouse for more than a few minutes. I solved the problem by learning to use the mouse with my left hand.
    My home office is actually my La-Z-Boy recliner. I have a board that sits from arm to arm, and that is where my laptop computer sits. The recliner lets me raise my lower legs, and vary my sitting posture quickly and as desired.

    • Hi Margie,
      I’m using an ergonomic mouse and liking it. Thankfully I have not experienced any numbness in my fingers, hands and wrists. I began the exercises when I experienced pain. My physiotherapist recommended them and I’m glad I listened because the pain has subsided now. Your set up sounds comfortable. Mine has improved since I purchased and ergonomic chair. Thanks for commenting and best wishes with your blog.

  9. Huh! Pretty great stuff! I’m going to start trying this out at work. I really like how dated the hand exercise movie is too, haha. Just like in high school. But I suppose it means that carpel tunnel and the light have been issues for a while.

    • I liked the finger exercise video too. It’s fun to do and you’re right we have known for many years that those who work on keyboards for hours every day are prone to developing arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Thanks for your comment and best wishes with your blog.

  10. Hello Time, I only skimmed through your Post, but I think it’s very important that this kind of info. Distributed, and Redistributed. I actually worked at an Orthopedic Brace Company for 8 1/2 years from 1991 to 1999, 6 1/2 years of which were in Sales. Though my original accounts consisted of Podiatrists, I quickly shifted to Orthopedic Doctors, as well as Family Practice. During this time I sold thousands of Wrist Braces, our Company made excellent one’s. One of the things that I heard about Carpal Tunnel is that when you use keyboards, and don’t keep your Wrist pretty straight, it starts to bend the little tube that surrounds the tendon. After many years of not keeping your Wrist straight, the tube actually ends up staying bent. And them people end up having to have it sliced to relieve the pain, if I remember correctly. I have always used a Mouse Pad that has a bump, as to keep my Wrist straighter, perhaps I’ve done this religiously partially subconsciously, partially consciously due to the exposure I had to Doctor’s, Techs, Nurses and Patients in pain.

    I did Data Entry from 1988 to 1993, and have continued to use Computers from 1993 on, and have never, ever had any pain. And I’m on this thing a lot. Education early sure seems to have paid off. Even right now as I sit here typing on my Laptop, when I look at my two Wrists, they’re both perfectly straight. I have to tell you, I haven’t thought about it in years, but I did learn about it in 1995 when I moved to Orthopedic Sales, and have done it properly ever since. Anyway, bravo to your Robust, and Proactive Helpfulness, I just wanted to throw a story at you where Preventative Measures have both Worked, and Payed off. Basically 23 years of extensive Computer use, and never a moment of pain.

    Thanks again Time

    DarkJade-

    • Hi darkjade,

      During this time I sold thousands of Wrist Braces, our Company made excellent one’s. One of the things that I heard about Carpal Tunnel is that when you use keyboards, and don’t keep your Wrist pretty straight, it starts to bend the little tube that surrounds the tendon.

      Apparently many computer users are in the dark about this just as I was until I had pain. I’ve been doing thes exercises for a just over a month now and I’ve been vigilant about my wrist positioning and support. The pain is gone and hopefully it will not return again. Thank you so much for your comment and best wishes with your blog.

  11. Hello Timethief,

    First let me say what a great your resource your blog is, I feel you are very generous in what you share. I have a question. now I should say I am fairly new to blogging, so may have done something wrong – my question is despite pressing the follow button I did not receive an email of this post and am wondering why not? Is it because I first pressed the RSS button first (which in truth I don’t fully understand) however as soon as I saw the follow button I clicked on that.

    Yours
    A mystified admirer of your blogging knowledge.

  12. I did all the exercises. My hands are sweating, and I had to put a little mini-sweatband around each finger, but everything feels great… : )

    OK, I’m kidding about the sweating. Great stretches and tips– thanks, TT!

    (And I hope your own hands are feeling better– hey, we all depend on ‘em!!)

    • Hi Mark,
      You always make me smile. I could imagine mini-sweatbands on my fingers as they danced through the exercises. lol :D The last finger fitness video is a dated one but it’s fun to do, and I’m sure doing it does my fingers good as they already feel better.

  13. Love the exercises. I did them as I read your blog. This is a great routine for bloggers. Kind of reminds me of Nomar Garciapara before he got up to bat.

    • Hello Purple Mouse,
      Thanks for your comment. Your analogy is a good one. All athletes have warm-up and cool-down routines they do to preserve their health and mobility. Now I know that those who spend hours on keyboards need to view their hands as athletes and musicians do and take good care of them by using exercises to keep them flexible and pain-free.

  14. Fantastic post. I am bookmarking this one and might print out the list of exercises and pin them on the board behind my monitor so they catch my eye and I remember to do them regularly. In my old office, I made sure that the printers were always on the other side of the room, ditto any scanners, so that staff had to get up and leave their chairs. They moaned about it but at least they had the microbreak of walking across the room. You have put together an excellent package of practical advice and videos here. Thank you once again TiTi :)

    • Hi Joanna,
      Printing the exercises out is exactly what I have done. I have these exercises posted on the bulletin board next to my computer desk. Since I’ve been taking frequeent micro-breaks from keyboarding and doing them my hand and wrist health has improved. I’m happy to hear you are on the bandwagon too. Thanks for commenting.

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