Finger exercises to release pain and relax after long typing sessions
Typing is an inseparable part of daily activities for millions of people worldwide. Though some of us type without ever feeling any discomfort, typing can cause considerable tiredness and even pain in our fingers if it comes to long typing sessions. Are there any effective finger exercises and techniques against fatigue, as well as methods to prevent and ease pain in our fingers?
Yes! There are effective finger exercises to release the pain caused by all-day typing. It is worth mentioning that finger, wrist, finger joint and arm pains usually occur together, and to achieve a desirable result you should consider relieving pain in all of them.
Benefits – Applying regular relaxation techniques can help reduce the risk of inflammation particularly in your trigger finger that may reduce the mobility of your hand. Common symptoms to be aware of include feeling heat, stiffness or even a lump at the base of a finger. Quite often people notice a clicking noise while using their fingers during various activities.
Preparation – You can do most finger exercises wherever you are. Some techniques may require an elastic band, soft balls, objects and other materials or light training equipment. Most items are often available in your house or work space.
Recommendations – How often should you do those exercises and for how long? 10-15 minutes a day. However, in my experience consistency and variety is key here. Take a break and simply stretch your fingers or squeeze a soft ball to strengthen your fingers while watching TV might do the trick for most people.
14 Finger Exercises – Relaxation and Strength
1. Finger Stretches
Stretch 1 – Whether you do typing at your job or practice with typing software, the hand and particularly fingers need some rest every now and then. Start with some simple finger stretches. It is one of the best exercises to get relief from finger pain. Spread the fingers of your hands apart, stretch for five seconds, then relax.
Stretch 2 – You can also do this finger exercise by putting your hands on a table or any other hard surface. At first, fully extend your fingers and make sure they touch each other. Afterwards, spread your fingers apart as far as possible and hold this position for a few seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat for 20 times.
Stretch 3 – Another way of stretching is to open your fist, stretch then close as if you are going to punch. Repeat it all over again. Alternatively, rather than closing your whole hand to a fist, just bend your fingers and keep the palm open, facing towards you. These are called claw stretches.Click to view images as slideshow.
2. Joining Fingers, Thumb Touch
Join your palms and interlock the fingers. Now that your fingers are crossed, exert some pressure from both the palms for 4-8 seconds. Relax and repeat 4-5 times. It helps because our muscles stretch and relax when pressure is applied on the fingers. Read more about stretching here.
Another exercise is to touch your thumb to each fingertip. It is called the ‘O’ exercise as you should form this letter when touching the fingertip. This can be done anywhere and is great for meetings, presentations or moments of inactivity.
3. Finger Spread
This is an effective fingers exercise to improve overall strength. All you need is an elastic (hair) band that you put around your fingers. You will then need to move fingers away from the thumb to create tension. Move them together again and repeat this sequence various times. Take a short break between the 3-5 sets recommended to benefit from this exercise.
4. Finger Dance
This finger exercise is meant to ease finger joint pain. Just start playing with your fingers, remembering the sweet days of childhood. Move them in different ways, pretending to walk or dance on the table, climbing a ladder or imitating your favorite cartoon heroes.
5. Picking up Objects
This is an excellent exercise to both relax and improve fine motor skills of an affected finger. One situation you should remember this technique is if someone dropped a jigsaw puzzle and you need to help picking up all the items.
Alternatively, you can simply empty a jar of coins or buttons on the table. While this finger exercise may sound and look silly, doing so will improve the complex muscle contractions involved here. Simply pick up a coin and move it to a different area and place it down there. Repeat until you had enough but keep a regular pattern.
6. Pressure Exercise Hand
Pressure can be helpful when applied to the palms as well. Hold arm outward, your palm directed upward and away from you. With the fingers of the other hand, bend the fingers of hand being exercised backward by applying pressure. Hold pressure for a few seconds, then relax and repeat for several times per hand.
The same exercise can be practiced holding your hand forward and the palm toward you (fingers directed downwards). Again, take the fingers of the hand being exercised and apply pressure.
7. Pressure Exercise Wrist
To release tension in wrists and fingers you can also position your palm on a firm surface and press your hand. Try also to hold your arm vertically, press your hand on a firm surface, with your palms up. Read more here.
8. Rotate the Wrist
Make a punch with the fists of both hands and rotate your wrists clockwise first, then anti-clockwise. Repeat for 20 times. This exercise is very helpful for arms as well.
9. Finger Extension Exercise
Try another exercise for finger extension by putting your hand on a table with your fingers fully extended. By using your opposite hand, lift each finger as far off of the table as possible. Practice the same with all five fingers. Repeat for 10 times.
10. Crumbling Paper
To never get bored with doing exercises, consider some fun ways of relieving pain in your fingers. Crumble paper! This exercise is beneficial because all of your fingers get involved as you squeeze a sheet of paper into a ball. After crumbling the first ball, relax for a few minutes and repeat for 20 times. Remember to be environmentally friendly and use recycled paper for this exercise.
Alternatively, you can also grasp a thickish towel or squeeze it together. I found this finger exercise quite mediative a sit can be done while talking or listening to music. If you are into numbers: repeat these techniques roughly 10 times twice a day.
11. Finger Exercises to Improve Strength
All the finger exercises mentioned above will hep you improve mobility, flexibility and strength. The latter can be developed even further.
Isometric & dynamic exercises – Isometric refers to holding a position or tension, e.g. hanging at a pull-up bar. Dynamic refers to moving parts of your body to perform an activity, e.g. a pull-up or push-up. To combine both states go from a dead hang to a pull-up; increase difficulty levels by holding the bar with your fingertips.
Focusing on grip – If you put your focus on your fingertips, your grip, your hands and fingers while doing pull-ups or push-ups you will train them more efficiently. Otherwise, arm and shoulder muscles will do all the work and improve in strength, fitness and form.
Handgrips – This is one of the most basic and probably oldest tools of modern fitness equipment, the handgrip. Many people have this at home but it is most certainly buried in a box of unused stuff. Get it out and build this powerful finger exercise into your daily routine. Squeezing a ball is good alternative here.
Home remedies can also lend a helping hand. To get an instant relief from finger joint and arm pain, soak fingers and arms in warm water till you feel they are relaxed.
You shouldn’t feel any pain while trying these finger exercises, but if you do, stop exercising and contact your doctor. Also, be cautious of any past injuries, in which case always consult your doctor beforehand.
13. Five Finger Exercise Technique
Apart from physical exercises, there are also psychological ones which can be helpful. One of the techniques used to relieve pain is called “Five Finger Exercise Technique”. The idea behind is simple: you sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and think of five positive things as you touch your thumb to every finger in turn.
There are a plenty of things you can think about: a favorite physical activity you were involved in, a loving experience, the sweetest compliment that was ever paid to you, or the most fascinating place you have ever visited. Positive mindset will eliminate the stress, and you will enjoy the calming effect of this exercise right after having done it.
14. Finger Massage
Last but not least, a finger massage can do wonders. If you ever went to a shop that sells hand cream and the assistant applied a tester combined with a finger massage you know how relaxing this can be. We recommend to apply self-massage daily and with a focus on the trigger fingers.
Use oil to massage affected fingers and apply some mild pressure with your thumb while moving in circular motion. The joints can be massaged too. Again, try mildly pressing each joint to release pain or achieve relaxation.
Finger Exercises and Relaxation – Summary
All of these finger exercises can be done nearly everywhere and anytime. Moreover, they are generic; that is to say, you can practice them if you suffer pain from writing, playing an instrument, cleaning the house, etc.
Don’t wait until you give up working because of the pain in your fingers. Always find a few minutes to take preventive steps. So, being quick and simple, these exercises will not only help to relieve the pain, but will also serve as preventive means if practiced at a regular basis.
Please note: If you have injuries or long-lasting pain in any part of your body you should always consider visiting a doctor for advice, diagnosis and treatment. The tips, techniques and exercises suggested in this post are meant to help relax hands, fingers or wrist after lengthy typing activities, and not to cure any serious physical indications.
New to touch typing? 7 Tips to learn to type faster.
Any finger exercises not mentioned here? Please suggest your favorite ones in the comments below.