Beat Rheumatoid Arthritis Hand Stiffness With Simple Yoga Exercises

Fitness expert Peggy Cappy shares her simple but effective yoga program, designed to give you more energy and flexibility and less joint pain.

Bonnie Siegler

Seven years ago, yoga expert, teacher and author Peggy Cappy, 62, began noticing that her hands and wrists hurt whenever she typed at her computer. She developed an easy yoga program that gives people, including those with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), more energy and flexibility while significantly reducing joint pain. Help your hands now!

Wrist rotation
Extend your arms out in front of you. Working from your wrists, slowly rotate your hands outward in circles. Repeat 8-10 times. Then reverse, rotating your hands inward in circles 8-10 times. 

Back-of-the-hand stretch 
Extend your arms out in front of you and lift your palms up, facing outward. Slowly pull your palms back to gently stretch the back of your hands. Then lower your palms to stretch the front of your hands. Alternate back and forth 8-10 times.

Joint/finger stretch 
Hold your hands out in front of you, palms forward. Slowly curl your fingers inward, to form a gentle fist. Then, slowly uncurl your fingers like a fern unfolding, until your fingers are straight. Slowly curl and uncurl your fingers 8-10 times. “It’s a movement we don’t usually make,” notes Peggy. “But it’s very effective for gently moving all of the joints in your hands.” 

Wrist stretch
Hold your hands out in front of you, palms up. Curl your fingers in toward your palms. Then bend your wrists forward while uncurling your fingers and bending your wrists back. “This is a very gentle, simple movement that increases the circulation in your hands and wrists,” says Peggy.

Finish by placing your hands in your lap.

April 2013