This is not silly! Whether typing or writing longhand, hand and wrist strength is important for writers. Muscle pulls and pinched nerves in the hand, carpal tunnel, and arthritis are dangers every writer faces, and doing just a few exercises every day can really reduce these risks as well as build strength and endurance.
I have two videos for you:
- Hand, Wrist & Forearm Strengthening Exercises by Dr. Levi Harrison
- Wrist, Hand & Finger Stretching Routine – Active Isolated Stretching by Smart Stretch
You could also get yourself some theraputty, which is a Play Doh-like substance used to promote hand strength. You can keep it at your desk and just play with it while you think or do research. It’s an easy way to trick yourself into exercising, and kneading the putty might even help you think! Check out these exercise sheets for more on how to use theraputty to strengthen the muscles in your hands, wrists, and forearms.
There are also squeeze balls you can buy to build hand strength and reduce stress. Amazon.com sells a ton of them, and they’re super easy to use. You just squeeze ‘em. Pretty great.
When my hands hurt, I lay them flat on my desk and then splay them out, stretching my fingers as far as they’ll go for around 30 seconds, then release, then repeat a few times. I also grab a blanket and gather up as much material as I can into the palm of my hand then squeeze it for around 30 seconds, then release, then repeat a few times.
Also, drink W A T E R. Drink water drink water drink water. I know coffee and tea are the trendy writerly things to drink — or even something alcoholic if you’re feeling Hemingwayesque — but your body needs water. You think better if you’re well-hydrated, your muscles will cramp less often, you’ll be less stressed, and you’ll have more energy to write longer. Drink water.
I hope these tips and exercises help! I’m sure other writers will have advice to give on this topic, so be sure to check the notes for their input!
Thank you for your question!