Dexterity refers to the strength and mechanical ability of one’s hands. Many people think of dexterity as simply being right- or left-handed, but there’s actually a lot more to it.

Your hand strength and flexibility can impact every aspect of your life. Commonly found in adults over the age of 50, osteoarthritis is a regular threat to dexterity as we age. Another common threat to dexterity is carpal tunnel, which also becomes more common with age. So how does one combat the threat of lost dexterity and keep their fingers moving? Here are a few tiny exercises that will keep your fingers moving and your hands strong.

Squeeze a Stress Ball
A simple, gentle squeeze of a stress ball is a great way to strengthen your wrist and hand. Doing this a few times a day can improve your circulation and relieve pressure in the many small joints of the fingers. Simply do 10 squeezes in one hand, then in the other, and switch two more times. A full three sets in the morning and again in the afternoon and evening is perfect … and you’ll still get the stress relief benefits too!

Finger Raises
Individual finger raises are a great way to give your fingers a much-needed stretch, while also conditioning them for independent use. Simply lay your hand, palm down, on a flat surface. Slowly raise each finger to its full extension and hold for 10 seconds. Then lower the finger and do the same to the next. Do this for both hands and again strive for three sets each time. While this exercise sounds simple, you will find that your fingers will get fatigued and you won’t help but notice that some fingers are more easily extended than others. Try it and see for yourself!

Flex Your Wrists
Healthy wrists are essential to maintaining proper motion in your hands. All of the tendons in your hands attach all the way up your arm into your shoulder. If one part of this system, from your shoulder to your fingertips, is not functioning properly the entire system can be compromised.

One major part of this system that is frequently neglected is the wrist. But don’t fret! One way to keep your wrists healthy is to do simple flexes. Simply hold your arms out in front of you and make a fist with each hand. It’s important to not make a tight fist as this will add stress to your hand and wrist. With your fists, flex your wrists up and down slowly in a 10 count. Once you reach 10, bend your wrists to the left and right, keeping your arms otherwise stationary. Do three sets of three to maximize this stretch and improve circulation through the joint.

Another simple way to care for your wrists, especially if you are at the computer several hours a day, is to use a wrist pad. This is simply a soft cushioning pad that sits at your keyboard that you can rest your wrists on while typing. It’s comfy and relieves tension in your wrists.

Whether you want to improve your dexterity or maintain what you have, try these simple exercises and keep your wrists, hands and fingers moving!