5 wrist exercises to undo your keyboard-typing damage

Besides positioning your hands properly over a keyboard, one of the best wrist treatments is remembering to stretch and move throughout the day.

Every day we spend typing hunched over our desks, we are inflicting damage to our delicate wrists. We may not be able to see it, but for those of us who suffer from cramping, aching hands after a long day of typing and clicking in front of a computer, we can certainly feel it. Besides positioning your hands properly over a keyboard, one of the best treatments is remembering to stretch and move throughout the day. Here are easy exercises to relieve tension that comes from too much typing:

1. Open and expand your hands

One of the easiest ways to fight wrist pain is to unclench your hands from the talons your keyboard is shaping them to become.

Yoga teacher Ann Swanson recommends expanding the hands and stretching your fingers. When our hands have been typing away for too long, they get in a “flexed, closed position,” Swanson said in a video for office yoga. To combat this, she recommends expanding and gently closing the hands a few times as you “focus on feeling a sense of spaciousness.”

2. Reverse grip of your wrists

Flexing your hands in new positions can help alleviate wrist stiffness. Jill Miller, author of, “The Roll Model: A Step-by-Step Guide to Erase Pain, Improve Mobility, and Live Better In Your Body,” recommends laying your palms flat on a surface and then moving your hands backwards, so that your thumbs are on the outside and your pinkies are on the inside. Expand your fingers into a starfish shape to feel the stretch more as you hold this position for about ten breaths.

3. Waggle and circle thumbs

For those of us who spend as much time, if not more time, on our phones as we do on our computers, this flexible thumb exercise is for you. After you have expanded your hands open, Swanson recommends circling your thumbs in any way that feels good. Try reversing directions after you finish circling in one direction for a few times. “The thumbs are having an unprecedented amount of arthritis being diagnosed nowadays, because of so much typing on smartphones,” she said. “Getting the thumb joint moving is very important.”

4. Prayer hands

Bring your hands together in front of your heart in a prayer position, so that your palms and fingers are against each other, Healthline recommends. To stretch your wrists, press your hands together and lower your palms towards your waistline until you feel a stretch under your forearms. You can repeat this twice more.

5. Take your hands off the keyboard more often

To prevent repetitive strain injuries, Harvard’s student group on the subject recommends prevention as a key component to alleviating wrist pain. Practicing good ergonomics means learning to incorporate restful movement into your work day. “Taking a break can be as simple as taking your hands off the keyboard and letting your arms droop at your sides,” they recommend. “Every half hour, get up from your desk and stretch to loosen your neck and shoulder muscles.”

Monica Torres|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at mtorres@theladders.com.