Most of the normal activities we do around the house can be considered exercise, especially if we repeat the activity or movement many times in a row. Maintaining or even improving the ability to perform our daily activities is essential for quality of life. This is the sixth in a series of simple exercises that can performed at home (or anywhere).

Using our hands for daily tasks such as gripping and lifting is an effective way to strengthen many of the muscles in our hands…but not all of them. The muscles on the back of our hands (finger/wrist extensors) are essential for lifting and positioning our fingers and hands. When these muscles become weak, over-use injuries such as carpal tunnel, wrist tendinitis, and tennis elbow occur. Maintaining good strength with all of your hand muscles is a highly effective way to prevent these injuries.

A simple exercise to strengthen the finger and thumb extensor muscles is to wrap a rubber band around the tips of the fingers and spread the fingers and thumb as far apart as possible. Repeat as many times as possible in one minute.

This exercise can be performed with wrist straight and/or bent. To increase the difficulty, use thicker rubber bands or multiple bands. Do not perform this exercise if it causes pain. Consult with your medical doctor or physical therapist if you have persistent finer or wrist pain.