If you've ever had to stop in the middle of your game to flex your hands and wrists due to cramping, you could likely benefit from incorporating a few hand exercises into your gaming routine. While gaming rarely works out the muscles that weight lifters at the gym are so obsessed with, it does put a lot of stress on your hand and wrist muscles that can result in pain and cramps over time. But not to worry.
7 Hand Exercises You Should Be Doing if You're a Gamer
While we would never ask you to break an actual sweat, we do believe in the importance of incorporating a few hand exercises to ensure your gaming game stays strong no matter how many hours you spend battling friends and foes. Doing these few hand exercises can prevent you from having to stop mid-game to cope with a throbbing wrist or numb fingers. Plus, we're sure your gaming buddies will appreciate not having to wait on their bro to stretch out his fingers before they can carry on with their voyage.
Without further ado, here are seven hand exercises you absolutely need to start doing if you want to kiss the aches in your fingers and wrists goodbye for good:
1. Prayer Position Stretch
This particular stretch helps loosen up your wrists and forearms. To do this stretch, start by putting your fingers and palms together with your fingers pointed upwards and your elbows pointing outward like you're praying. Hold this position for 30 seconds or more. To increase the intensity, slowly lower your hands while keeping them together.
2. Reverse Prayer Position Stretch
Remain in the same position as you were in for the prayer position stretch, except now you are going to press the backs of your hands together with your fingers facing down. Hold this stretch for 30 or more seconds. To increase the intensity, slowly raise your hands while keeping them together and keeping your elbows pointed outward.
3. Supine Flexors Stretch
For this stretch, you'll perform the stretch on each hand separately. Start with your left side, and keep your elbow extended and your palm facing upward. Using your other hand, gently pull on the bottom half of your fingers so that you are pulling your wrist downward. You'll feel moderate discomfort but you shouldn't feel any pain. If you do feel pain, ease up a bit on your pull. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and repeat on the other hand.
4. Pronated Extensions Stretch
For this stretch, you'll be using the same position you were in for the supine flexors stretch except your hand will be facing downwards instead of upwards. Use your other hand to gently pull down on the outside of your fingers so that your wrist is slowly lowered and you feel the stretch in the top part of your forearm. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and repeat on the other side.
5. Joint Distraction Stretches
This stretch will help loosen up all of your fingers and thumbs. To begin, relax your hand and face your palm towards your chest. Using your other hand, grab the tip of your thumb and lightly pull on it so that you're extending your thumb outward. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat on your other thumb and fingers on both hands.
You can also do a joint distraction exercise for your wrists. To do this, relax your hand in front of your body with your palm facing towards you. Using your other hand, gently grab the hand facing you near your wrist joint and pull outward. Pull slowly until you feel slight discomfort. Hold this stretch for several seconds, and repeat on the other hand.
6. Wrist Joint Circles
For this stretch, extend both hands out and gently rotate your wrists in a circle. Perform 10 to 15 circles rotating clockwise and 10 to 15 circles rotating counterclockwise.
7. Thumb Extensor Stretch
Take your thumb into the palm of your hand and close your fingers over it. Slowly start to bend your wrist toward the outside of hand (where your pinky finger is). You should feel this stretch in your thumb and alongside the forearm area near your thumb. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, and repeat on the other hand.
You use your fingers and hands in countless activities throughout the day. From texting to typing to driving to eating, your fingers and wrists are essential to your overall quality of life. Taking care of them — especially when you're in full-on game mode for several hours or days — can help prevent conditions like tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Use these exercises regularly to enjoy pain-free fingers and wrists. Game on, bro.