Your hands perform various tasks every day like, lifting things, typing on the keyboard, and many others that can make your hand muscles stiff and weak. Similarly, sitting in a posture for a long time, or wearing wrong shoes can cause foot and ankle pain. This highlights the need to stretch your hands and feet regularly to alleviate any discomfort experienced. Regular exercises and stretches can help you to improve soreness and ensures that muscles work properly. Practicing some simple stretches can help you strengthen your wrists and keeps your hands and feet flexible. Stretching keeps your muscles flexible and healthy for a longer time and maintains the motion of the joints as well. It can also improve blood circulation that can boost oxygen level and provides the essential nutrients to your muscles and also reduces muscular tension throughout the body. Mostly these stretches are simple and do not require any equipment and can be done at home easily.
Exercises to stretch your hands
Prayer position stretch
- Stand straight and join your hands in a Namaste mudra in such a way that your elbows are in contact with each other and keep your hands in level with your head.
- Your arms should also be in contact with each other from your fingertips till the elbows. Now slowly move your elbows away from each other while keeping your palms together. Lower your hands to the waist height and you can stop when there is some stretch.
- Hold this position for around 30 seconds and then repeat for a few times. Now extend an arm at your shoulder length while keeping your palm facing downwards. Spread your fingers and point the fingers downwards.
- With the other hand, gently pull your fingers back towards your body and hold it for 10-30 seconds. Do the same with the other hand as well.
- Sit in a straight position and place your hands on your lower body with palms facing upwards. Now slowly make fists but do not apply too much pressure.
- Now slowly raise your hands off your lower body and then back towards your body while maintaining a bend at the wrists. Remember to keep your forearms touching your legs.
- Hold the position for around 10-20 seconds. Then lower your wrist and slowly spread your fingers.
- Continue the exercise for a few minutes to increases your hand’s strength. This stretch is also beneficial in improving your grip and results in a firm grip.
- Sit in a comfortable position and make a fist while pointing your thumb upwards, as if making a thumbs-up sign. Maintain resistance between your thumb and hand muscles to avoid any movement of your thumb.
- Now gently pull back on your thumb with the other hand. Ensure to pull gently and avoid applying force.
- Hold the position for a few seconds and repeat 5-10 times.
- Sit in a comfortable position and make a fist while pointing your thumb upwards. Maintain resistance between your thumb and hand muscles to avoid any movement of your thumb.
- Now gently push the thumb forward with the other hand. Ensure not to apply too much pressure while doing so.
- Hold the position for a few seconds and repeat 5-10 times.
- Sit in a comfortable position and extend your one hand forward. Keep your fingers open, pointing straight up and elbow straight.
- Now with your left hand reach out for the extended hand and gently pull back each finger, one at a time starting from your index finger.
- Continue to do the same with your middle, ring, and pinky finger. Hold the stretch for a few seconds or until you feel the stretch.
- Repeat the same with the fingers on your left hand. Do the stretch daily in the morning to stretch the ligaments in your finger.
Exercises to stretch your feet
- Sit in a comfortable position with your back straight and feet flat on the floor.
- Take on foot up and place it on the opposite thigh with knee pointing outwards.
- Grab your foot placed on the opposite thigh with one hand and pull them upwards to your ankle.
- Continue to do so for a few seconds or until you feel a stretch at the bottom of your foot and in your heel cord.
- Massage your foot with the other hand while you do the stretch and hold the position for a few seconds.
- Gradually you can hold for a longer time once your muscles get used to the stretch. Repeat 8-10 times for each foot.
- Sit straight in a comfortable position, preferably on a chair with feet flat on the floor.
- Put a small towel on the floor in front of yourself in a way that short side is facing your feet.
- Place your toes of one foot on the short side of the towel and try to grab the towel between your toes and pull it towards yourself.
- Repeat the exercise for at least 5times with each foot before switching your foot.
- To practice the exercise more effectively you can weight down the other corner of the towel with some heavy object.
- Sit straight in a chair with your back straight and feet flat on the floor.
- Place two bowls on the floor in front of you at a distance that can be reached by your toe. Add some marbles in one bowl say around 20 and keep the other bowl empty.
- Use only the toes of one foot to pick up the marbles from one bowl and drop it in the empty bowl. Pick one marble at a time until you transfer all the marbles in the empty bowl.
- Repeat the same with the other foot’s toe. This fun exercise can increase the strength in the muscles of your feet and toes.
Single leg balance
- Stand straight on the floor or mat with your feet shoulder-width apart and keep a chair or stand near a wall for support if required.
- Open your arms out on your sides in a straight line and ensure that your elbows are not bending
- Now try to stand on one foot for a few seconds. Gradually find your balance and try to stand on one foot for a longer time.
- Aim to balance yourself on one foot for one minute. Repeat the same with your other foot for 2-3 times.
- You can add variations while doing the exercise like balancing with eyes closed or modify your standing surface. It can be done while carrying out your routine work like brushing your teeth as well.
- Stand on a flat surface with your feet about shoulder-width length apart. Stand near a chair or a wall for support if needed.
- Keep your hands on your waist to maintain balance and lift your heels upwards until you are standing on your toes.
- Then slowly lower your heels back to the floor and continue the stretch for a few times.
- It is important to lower your heels slowly to strengthen the muscles. You can do around 3 sets of 10 lifts each.
- Once you are comfortable with the stretch you can add weights to the exercise to add resistance.