Keep Your Hands Happy: Essential Exercises for Knitters and Crocheters

We've all experienced the thrill of starting a new knitting or crochet project and having our needles or hooks ready to work their magic on something lovely. But amidst all the excitement, it's crucial to bear in mind the importance of maintaining the health of our hands and joints- our most precious crafting tools! Like athletes warm up before a crucial match, our hands also need to get ready for the marathon of stitching that lies ahead! This blog post will discuss the importance of hand health for crafters and provide some simple hand exercises to keep your hands flexible and joyful.

Understanding Repetitive Motion Injuries (RMIs)

Let's first talk about the villain of our story: Repetitive Motion Injuries (RMIs). These pesky injuries sneak up on us when we least expect it, wreaking havoc on our ligaments, muscles, nerves, and tendons. For knitters and crocheters, RMIs often manifest in the wrists and forearms, appearing as tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or radial tunnel syndrome. While some RMIs are temporary and heal with time, others may require surgery or become permanent, putting a damper on our beloved crafting activities. But don’t worry, it can be avoided! And we’re here to tell you how.

The Importance of Stretching

You're settled in for a cozy knitting session, your favorite TV channel queued up, and your latest project ready to go. But wait! Before you cast on, take a moment to stretch those hands and wrists. Incorporating stretching into your crafting routine not only prevents injuries but also enhances flexibility and dexterity, making your stitches smoother and more precise. No more unwanted halts because your hands hurt from cramping- it’s a thing of the past now!

Keep Your Hands Happy: Essential Exercises for Knitters and Crocheters

Basic Hand Exercises for Crafters

Now, let’s get down to business. Here are some simple yet effective exercises to keep your hands and joints in top-notch condition:

  • Hand Clenches: Start by holding your hands in front of you, palms facing downward. Clench your fists tightly and hold for 5-10 seconds before gently stretching your fingers out. Repeat this exercise five times with each hand to loosen up those muscles and improve circulation.
  • Prayer Position Stretch: Adopt the prayer position with your hands together, palms facing each other. Slowly raise your elbows while keeping your wrists still, feeling a gentle stretch in your wrist area. Hold for a few seconds before releasing. Repeat as needed to relieve tension in your wrists.
  • Wrist Flexors: Stretch one arm out straight with your forearm facing up. Use your other hand to pull your fingers towards your body, feeling a stretch in the muscles on the bottom of your forearm. Hold for five seconds before switching sides and repeating. Aim for five repetitions on each arm to alleviate tightness.
  • Finger Stretches: Extend one arm with your palm facing away from your body. Use your opposite hand to gently press against your outstretched fingers, stretching them towards your body. Hold for five seconds before alternating to the other hand. Repeat five times on each hand to improve flexibility and range of motion.
  • Rubbing Your Wrist Bones: Ah, here's a nifty little trick for keeping those wrist bones happy: give them a good rub. Take your thumb and gently massage all those bones, tendons, and whatever else is hanging out in your wrist. It's like giving your wrists a mini spa treatment right at home!
  • Wrist Circles: With your arms bent at a 45-degree angle, rotate your wrists in circular motions to exercise and lubricate the wrist joints. Perform five circles in one direction before switching to the other direction. Repeat this exercise five times to promote wrist mobility and prevent stiffness.
  • Mattress Stitch Exercise: Interlace your fingers with your palms facing towards you, then rotate your hands so your palms face away from your body. Straighten your arms and push your hands away from your body, feeling a stretch in your wrists and forearms. Hold for ten seconds before relaxing and repeating. Aim for three to five repetitions to release tension and improve flexibility.

Remember to stretch before and during your knitting or crocheting sessions, aiming for a stretch break every 30 minutes. Set a timer on your phone or tablet to remind you until it becomes second nature. And don’t forget to give your legs some love too – take breaks to stretch and move around, keeping your entire body happy and healthy.

In the world of crafting, our hands are our most valuable tools. By prioritizing hand health and incorporating these simple exercises into our routine, we can prevent injuries and keep doing what we love for years to come. So, the next time you pick up your needles or hook, take a moment to stretch, strengthen, and show your hands some appreciation. Your future self will thank you for it!