We go to the gym to work hard. We lift weights, do crunches, and fly through the air with the greatest of ease (well, we used to, anyway).
What about the part of your body that is sadly overused – texting, typing, scratching and pointing all day?
We’re talking about your hands.
We’re in an era of revolution, and this revolution leads us to sit for longer and longer periods. Hundreds of years ago, we would have had to own a white wig and a kingdom to have such privileges. Our wrists, our fingers, and our forearms, however, have never seen such movement. They type furiously, they grip the steering wheel, and they help you into downward dog.
Every once in awhile, give your digits a rest from the texting and stretch ’em out. You don’t take your hamstrings for granted in the same way, now, do you?
Try these four stretches:
1. Hand O’ Clock.
Go onto your hands and knees. Pick up your right hand and rotate your right arm clockwise until your fingertips are facing your knee. Palm facing down, place your hand back on the ground. One hand is facing forward, one hand facing backwards. If you don’t feel it, lean your hips back. Breathe for about 30 seconds, and then switch to the left hand. If it’s too intense, try starting with 10 seconds and work your way up.
2. Forearm Downdog.
With both hands facing forward again, come down to your forearms, knees on the ground. Flip your palms to face up. Stay here, or lift your hips into the air and press back through your heels for a forearm down-dog variation.
3. A Massage – With Your Knees!
Bring your knees to the ground. Stay on your forearms, and make your left forearm parallel to the front of the mat, like you are going to hold onto your right elbow. Pick up your right knee, and use the pressure of your knee to massage your forearm. Switch sides.
4. Hand to foot pose (different from foot in mouth pose).
If you’re flexible, come to standing and bend forward at the hips to touch the ground. Stand directly on your hands (take those shoes off, please!). Your hands will be facing backwards and you can stand all the way up to your wrist creases. Spill some weight forward to stretch the wrists. Bend your knees as much as you need to. Ah. Sweet relief.
Shake out your arms occasionally as you work, interlace your fingers and stretch them forward and behind your back. Treat your hands as any other overworked muscle, and you’ll be less inclined to feel the strain of a long day’s work (or a lazy day on the couch, playing Machinarium).