Stress Ball Exercises
Using a stress ball--a foam or gel-filled ball that provides some resistence to pressure--can reduce stress and strengthen hand and wrist muscles. The benefits of stress reduction are immediate, but strengthening muscles is also a good way to prevent repetitive strain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand and wrist problems caused by overuse and weakened muscles. Do these simple exercises at your desk or during short breaks.
Squeeze the ball for a count of three, then relax your grip. Repeat up to twenty times to a point of fatigue. This increases grip strength through the wrist and releases tension.
Finger and Thumb Strength
Pinch the ball with the thumb and each finger, one at a time. Then pinch the ball between just the fingers, giving the thumb a rest. Hold each pinch for a count of three and repeat up to twenty times or to the point of fatigue.
Stress Release and Palm Massage
Roll the ball against a table. Repeat the back and forth motion up to twenty times with each hand. This action engages muscles up the entire arm while providing light massage to the fingers, palm and wrist.
Twist and Pull
Holding the ball with both hands, twist each hand in opposite directions, as if trying to untwist it. Repeat up to twenty times, then reverse the direction of the twist. This engages the whole hand as well as the wrist, once again strengthening while relieving stress.
Robyn Ellis has been writing since 1999. Her work appears in "Poet Lore," "Lumina," and "Rattle" literary magazines, among other publications. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing from Emerson College and a Masters in Museum Studies from Tufts University. She currently works as a writer, editor, and museum professional.