When it comes to exercising and keeping healthy, most people will have every area of the body covered, but have you ever considered strengthening exercises for your hands, wrists, ankles and feet? They are actually significant areas to spend a little time on whilst working out.
Exercising your hands, ankles, and feet can reduce soreness, whether you’ve been on your feet all day or work at a desk where your constantly moving your hands. It can also help make sure you are still getting the support and range of movement you need.
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Hands & Wrists
Strengthening the muscles in your hands is really important, especially as we get older and our muscle mass decreases. This can make it difficult to lift things and hold on to things, so strengthening your hands now will benefit you in the future.
Make a Fist
The easiest of the strengthening exercises of hands and wrists is to make a fist. Fold your hand into a fist, hold it tightly for 30 seconds to a minute, and then release. Repeat this a few times with both hands. If you feel pain, you might be holding the fist too tight. This exercise will strengthen your hand and fingers to increase your range of motion and relieve any aches.
Another exercise can be using a grip strengthener. This is something that is difficult to squeeze together to help train the muscle to grip better. Like making a fist, you would need to squeeze and hold one of these a few times a day to strengthen the muscles. If you don’t have a grip strengthener to hand, try a stress ball or just practice the hand motion without the aid. The exercise will still help; the strengthener just adds that extra resistance.
Finally, wrist flexing is a good exercise to improve your wrist strength and hand strength. Hang your hand over the end of a table with something cushioning your wrist. Lift your hand so the palm is facing forwards, and keep pulling back until you feel a little stretch. Relax your hand and let it hang over the edge of the table. Repeat a few times with each hand. This strengthening exercise is good to build muscles in the wrist to support the hand.
Feet & Ankles
Much like the hands, the ankles need strengthening to reduce the loss of muscle mass as we get older. Weak ankles can cause aches and pains whilst walking or walking long distances, and as a result, can limit how far we can travel if it gets too bad.
Ankle circles are as simple as they sound. You hold your leg in the air and spin the foot and ankle in a circular motion. Do this in both directions and with both feet to strengthen the muscles and improve the range of motion. If you are planning on going hiking or for a long walk, this exercise can also relieve aches in the ankle and stretch the muscles if needed.
Ankle Stretch/Toe Pull
Ankle stretches and toe pulls are good strengthening exercises that target the feet, ankles and calves. You can use your hands or a resistance band, hook it around your feet and pull your feet or toes backwards. This can help stretch out aches and strengthen the muscles in your feet to help maintain balance which is essential as you get older.
Finally, we have the toe grip. This strengthening exercise works your flexor muscles in your toes and feet. Just lay a towel (or something similar) on the floor and use your toes to grip it and pick it up. Do this a few times with each foot to improve those muscles and the overall strength of your feet.
There you have it, a couple of exercises to help strengthen your joints in your hands and feet. There are loads more exercises out there if these don’t suit you, but it’s important to add these exercises to your workouts to keep the muscles strong as these help you keep your balance, grip and flexibility in later life.
For articles about strengthening and stretching other muscle areas try our strech series:
Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.
If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.