Ankle, Wrist and Arm Circles Exercise

There are 3 separate stretches on this page with the first of these being the arm circles exercise. You will also see step by step instructions for the wrist circles and the ankle circle stretch. Each can be perfomed in a chair or standing. If you have concerns about balance I suggest you do these in a chair.

With simple yet effective circle motions, you will be stretching and toning various muscles. These moves helps you warm up and gets the blood moving. These moves are perfect for anyone but especially helpful for seniors or those who have limitations physically as they can be performed while sitting down.

Arm Circle Stretch

The first of these stretches is the arm circle. This move stretches your arms, shoulders and upper back as well as helping tone your triceps and bicep muscles.

Seated Arm Circles

  1. Sitting in a chair with back nice and straight, lift your arms out to the sides.
  2. Point your palms facing forward and the thumbs up.
  3. Start with small circles forward. Gradually make the circle bigger and bigger until your arms are slightly above your head or until you begin to feel the stretch in your triceps.
  4. Now reverse the direction of the circle and go backwards. Again start small and get bigger and bigger circles until you feel the stretch.

Standing Arm Circles

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Raise your arms out parallel with the floor, palms facing forward and the thumbs up.
  3. Start making small circles forward while gradually making larger circles.
  4. Now reverse the direction of the circle and go backwards. Again start small and get bigger and bigger circles until you feel the stretch.

Wrist and Hand Stretch

The wrist circle stretch focuses on smaller but important joints and muscles. I especially love the wrist stretch since I spend most of my time typing on a computer. Stretching the wrists are often forgotten yet can be so helpful to relieve joint pain and stress in this area.


Wrist Circle

  1. Sit in a chair or stand with legs slightly apart.
  2. Lift your arms up to about chest high with elbows bent so your hands are out in front of you.
  3. You can make a fist if you want or leave your hands open. Start with small circles and move into bigger circles keeping your arms still and only moving at the wrist. Do this for about 1 minute.
  4. Reverse direction and repeat the circles for another minute in this direction.

Hand Stretch

This is a simple move but really helps stretch your hand and fingers. You can do this one sitting down or standing up.

  1. Place your hand in front of you and make a fist.
  2. Open your hand, stretching your fingers until your hand is flat and fully opened keeping your fingers together.
  3. Repeat this 10 - 15 times per hand.

Ankle Stretches

The last of the stretches on this page is for the ankle. While these can be performed standing, I suggest sitting down (or lie down on a mat) so that you can focus on the stretch without worrying about losing your balance. If you do stand, hold onto the back of a chair to help steady yourself.

Ankle Circles

  1. Sit in the chair with back straight.
  2. Lift one leg straight out in front of you. You don't have to lift too high, just high enough that the ankle is off the floor.
  3. Now circle the ankle to the left keeping the leg still. 
  4. Reverse the circle direction and do several more circles on this ankle.
  5. Switch legs and then repeat the above steps for the other ankle.

Ankle / Foot Stretch

This one also really stretches the ankle and is best performed in a chair.

  1. Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair.
  2. Place one leg straight out in front of you and place your heal on the floor.
  3. With your heal on the floor, bend your ankle to point your toes up towards you and hold for 10 - 30 seconds.
  4. Now bend your ankle down to point toes towards the floor. Slightly lift your heal and place your toes on the floor. Hold this stretch for 10 - 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat these steps for the other ankle.

Here are some more wrist and hand stretches from for those of you who sit in an office chair all day long.

Additional Articles

Benefits of Cooling Down After Exercise
After an aerobic or strength training workout, you want to do a quick 5 - 10 minute cool down and then stretch. Check out this article to find out why cooling down is important to your muscles.

Burn Calories with Fun Activities
Getting in your daily activity doesn't always have to be about exercise. Read this article to see how you can have fun burning calories.

Senior Chair Exercises
Check out these seated strengthening and toning exercises for the upper and lower body.