Laptop users take note: you’re more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than people who don’t spend hours typing on their laptops each day, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Thankfully, there are some stretches you can do during and after your work session to help reduce your risk of developing wrist pain and problems related to it. Here are 7 wrist stretches every laptop user needs to know…
1) How to stretch your wrists
Use your right hand to stretch your left wrist. Hold your right hand in front of you and extend your left arm behind you, palm up.
Now bend your right arm at a 90-degree angle, so that it’s pointing toward you, and lay it on top of your left forearm. Use both hands to gently pull back on each other for a few seconds, then switch sides.
Repeat these stretches throughout the day as needed—which will be often if you’re working with a laptop! You might feel very tightness or even pain in one wrist first, but don’t worry about that, Weber says.
2) The best stretches for people who use their hands a lot
Most of us spend a lot of time with our hands in front of us while typing on our computers. With that comes a lot of repetitive stress on your wrists, especially if you have to use your mouse and keyboard while you type.
Repetitive wrist movements can lead to issues like tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or trigger finger. As a solution, it’s important to do stretches throughout your day that help maintain healthy wrists and fingers for work or play! You may want to look into getting ergonomic equipment for your home office space too.
These items include desks designed for correct posture as well as padded rests for when you take breaks from typing or other activities that cause pain.
3) Calf/leg stretch (do this before you do anything else)
To begin, you want to be seated in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Rest your forearms and palms on top of your thighs, which should be relatively straight.
You’ll know you’re in proper alignment if there is no stress or discomfort in your back. Next, start at one end of your forearm and slowly open up one finger at a time from pinky to thumb; continue all the way down until you reach your wrist (in other words, make sure that each finger is opened before moving onto another).
This will help improve range of motion, prevent wrist pain or injury, and increase circulation within that area as well. Repeat ten times each day.
4) Hand opener
Place your left palm face up on a table, resting your left forearm on top of it. Using your right hand, grasp and bend all four fingers back toward you until you feel a stretch in your forearm muscles.
Hold for 15 seconds and repeat twice with each hand. The primary benefit of these stretches is that they will help prevent pain caused by repetitive stress injury (RSI) for computer users who tend to keep their hands flat while typing.
This posture puts pressure on your wrists, which can lead to pain in your forearms and upper arms after long periods of time.
If you’re experiencing RSI symptoms, be sure to give yourself at least one full day break from using a computer every week and take frequent breaks during extended typing sessions so that you don’t become overworked.
5) Wide hand stretch
Stand with your arms at your sides, palms facing down. Using your left hand, take hold of your right hand. Now bend and straighten both wrists. Repeat 10 times before changing hands.
The wide grip targets more muscle groups than a simple wrist stretch using only one hand—the extensor carpi radialis brevis, palmaris longus and flexor carpi radialis muscles on either side of your forearm, plus some fibers from flexor pollicis longus.
6) Classic back and forth stretch
One of our favorite stretches for helping maintain wrist flexibility, it’s a classic. To do it, take your forearm and place it on a flat surface in front of you.
Then take your other hand and use it to gently push against your forearm until you feel a stretch in your palm. Hold that position for 20-30 seconds (do both hands) and repeat 3 times.
Voila`! Your wrists are flexible once again! Be careful though, never force yourself into any stretch: if you don’t feel anything right away or after several attempts, stop before things get worse!
7) Twisted wrist
You know when you’re sitting at your desk with your laptop and realize your right wrist is twisted at an odd angle? That’s a very common one. In order to stretch out your wrist, take a rubber band (or whatever flexible item you have on hand) and wrap it around your fingers.
Hold it in place by resting your forearm against a table or other sturdy surface, then lightly pull against it until you feel some tension in that area. The tension should be enough so that there is no pain.
Now, move your fingers forward and backward a few times, which should help get blood flowing through that area. Once you’ve completed these movements three times, switch sides.