Article

How women 50+ can avoid wrist pain and soreness through fitness

June 24, 2024

Written By Cathy Prowse

Wrist pain gone!

As a trainer working with over 50 women, I have come to notice more and more of us are suffering with weak and painful wrists. 

This ailment can substantially affect our daily life by making everyday tasks difficult to perform. Such as 

  1. Computer Use: Tasks that involve typing or using a mouse can become challenging, leading to discomfort and reduced productivity.
  2. Cooking: Preparing meals may be difficult, especially when it comes to chopping ingredients or stirring pots and opening jars.
  3. Exercise: Certain workouts, like weightlifting or yoga, might be hard to perform, potentially hindering fitness goals.
  4. Household Chores: Cleaning tasks such as sweeping, mopping, or wringing out cloths can exacerbate wrist pain.
  5. Personal Care: Simple actions like brushing teeth or hair, or even buttoning clothes, can become painful and require more effort

It’s such a bummer when our bodies don’t cooperate. It can really get in the way of doing the things we love, like sewing, knitting, or crocheting. And it’s the worst when it keeps us from scooping up our grandkids for some playtime.” 😕

What can we do about it? 

First, I thought I would show you some ways you can perform a very common and beneficial exercise: The Push up: 

The foundation for the pushup comes from our hand and we want to have our fingers spread and think about gripping the ground, having a middle finger straight out creating tension down into the ground.

I have talked before about the hand release push up and how it helps you line up your arms for a great push up every time.  This has you starting flat on the ground and pushing up instead of starting on your knees or toes and going down. We also want to avoid our elbows to flare out

Some modifications

  • Fold an exercise mat over, and place your hands at the end. 
  • Not enough support?  You can put your wrist into a different position such as on your knuckles or using dumbbells.
  • You can also perform a push-up on an incline, on a bench or a chair. so you are lifting less. You can also do them off the wall.

While you can certainly adapt and find temporary solutions, it’s important to focus on strengthening your wrists for long-term benefits. 

My personal trainer, Tim, who is also studying exercise physiology, shared a valuable tip with me. He suggested incorporating hanging exercises into my routine. Simply grabbing onto a bar and hanging there can significantly improve wrist strength. It’s straightforward advice, but it’s proven to be quite effective.

Hanging movements can be quite beneficial for strengthening your wrists. Here’s how they help:

  1. Grip Strength: When you hang from a bar, your fingers, hands, and forearms work together to maintain the grip. This action strengthens the muscles and tendons in your wrists.
  2. Joint Stability: The act of hanging places a gentle, steady strain on your wrist joints, which can help improve their stability and resilience.
  3. Muscle Engagement: While hanging, the muscles in your forearms that control wrist movement are engaged. This can lead to increased muscle mass and strength over time.
  4. Flexibility and Range of Motion: Hanging allows your wrists to be in a neutral position, which can help improve flexibility and range of motion.
  5. Reciprocal Inhibition: When you’re hanging, the muscles on one side of your forearm contract, while the muscles on the opposite side stretch and relax. This process, known as reciprocal inhibition, can help improve overall wrist strength and mobility.

Next time you’re stepping out for a stroll with your dog, or you’re planning some quality time with your kids or grandkids, consider stopping by the park for a bit of exercise. Try out the hanging exercise; it’s a great way to build up your wrist strength. 

Remember to start with brief sessions and progressively extend the time as you get stronger. It’s a simple addition to your outdoor routine but can change the quality of your life.

 

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