Wrist Workouts for the Visually Impaired
Wrist Workout for those who use mobility canes
For the visually-impaired who need to use a cane, wrist health is absolutely paramount. I know that when I have messed up one of my wrists, not only does it not let me properly use my cane in that hand, but it also doubles the load on my other wrist, risking overuse. To help keep your wrists strong and flexible, I have put together a little workout you can do at home to focus on this key, but often overlooked, area.
Part 1: Resistance Exercise
Exercise 1: Ulnar deviation
For ulnar deviation exercise, stand up with a long but light object in your hand with thumb pointing forward. This object can be a broomstick, mop handle, dowel rod, or conveniently, your mobility cane! Here on out I’ll refer to this object as your bar. To make this exercise easier, grip towards the middle of your bar. To increase the difficulty, grab the bar closer to the end. Either way, the larger portion of the bar should be behind you. Now to perform ulnar deviation, let your wrist relax so your thumb starts pointing upwards and the end of the bar furthest from your hand lowers to the ground behind you. Keep the lowering portion slow and controlled, do not let your bar crash to the floor! Then flex the wrist to return your bar to parallel to the floor. This is one rep. Repeat until you get a good burn, then do five more. Switch hands and repeat. Do this back and forth for three to five sets per side.
Description: Side view of Evan holding his mobility cane parallel to the floor. He lowers it slowly, and returns back to parallel.
Exercise 2: Wrist Extension
Sit in a chair and lay your forearms on your thighs so just your hands and wrist hang off above the knee. With your bar in your hands and your palms facing the ground, allow your wrist to bend toward the ground and fingers to uncurl to hold the bar in the ends of your fingers. Then curl your fingers to grip the bar tightly and raise the back of your hand to return to a straight wrist position. This is one rep. Now your cane or a broom handle may be very light for this exercise so try three sets of twenty. Alternatively, you could use something slightly heavier like a light barbell or cans of soup. Obviously with a thicker handle, you won’t uncurl your fingers as you perform the exercise, instead focusing on the wrist extension exclusively.
Description: A front view of Evan seated on a box. His arms are resting on his thighs, allowing his wrists to hang off.
Bonus Exercise: Fist Pushups
If you can perform pushups on your fists, throw those into this workout as well. This will help strengthen the wrist further. Just be sure to keep the elbows closer to your body. Three sets of as many high-quality reps as you can on your feet or knees will more than suffice.
Description: Front and side view of fist pushups. Arms are slightly wider than shoulder width, elbows stay tucked closely to the body.
Part 2: Stretches
On your hands and knees, perform 10 repetitions of each of these stretches.
Fingers pointed forwards, lean forward gently and return to start position getting a gentle stretch in your fingers, wrists and forearms. Be sure to keep your elbows straight.
Description: Side view of Evan on hands and knees, fingers forward. He leans slightly forward, then returns to starting position.
Turn your hands so your fingers are pointed outward at a 45 degree angle. Lean forward as with stretch #1.
Description: Side view of Evan on hands and knees. Fingers are pointed out 45 degrees. He leans slightly forward, then returns to starting position.
Turn hands so the fingers of each hand point toward each other. Pulse forward again as with the previous stretches.
Description: Side view of Evan in same position as previous stretches. Fingers are pointed inwards towards each other. He leans slightly forward, and returns to starting position.
Put back of hands on floor with fingers pointed toward your body. Lean backward for gentle stretch. If pulsing backwards is too difficult with this stretch, just relax in the start position with backs of hands on the floor.
Description: Side view of Evan on hands and knees. This time, the backs of his hands are flat on the ground, fingers pointed towards his feet. He leans backwards slightly, and returns to the starting position.
Remember this will just be a maintenance program you can do conveniently at home. This should help build a base for further training and improvement down the line, or just keeping you good and functional for whatever life throws at you!