Neck Flexibility

by TJ Davis | June 10th, 2010 | Exercises

Loss of mobility and flexibility are common results of aging. Regular moderate exercise can help reduce the symptoms that lead to these results. When you are choosing an exercise program, the neck should be given special consideration. Any sort of fitness routine can be detrimental to the back and neck if done improperly. Neck exercise should be done slowly and carefully. Quick, jerky movements can lead to injury.

The most effective fitness programs include three types of exercise: flexibility or range-of-motion exercises, strengthening exercises, and aerobic exercises. Stretching before and after exercise helps keep joints and muscles limber. Muscle toning should be done every other day for maximum benefit. Aerobic activities may include walking, biking or swimming, and should be done for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, though that need not be all at one time.

As with any sort of fitness plan, it is important to stretch before exercising. Warming up your muscles prior to increasing your activity level is essential to maintaining joint and muscle safety. Neck exercises should be done in this first phase, the flexibility phase, of your routine.

When you are ready to begin working the muscles of your neck, take a few deep breaths first to help relax tight muscles. From a sitting or standing position with your back straight and your neck aligned with your spine, slowly turn your head to the right, and then to the left. Facing forward once again, bow your head forward, lowering your chin to your chest. Lift your chin, then tilt your head to the right, lowering your ear toward your shoulder; repeat to the left. Do as many repetitions of these neck limbering exercises as you can do comfortably. When you are finished with your workout, you should stretch again for a cool down.

Make your movements slow and fluid. Remember to keep breathing as you stretch. Never stretch your neck by tilting your head backwards. This puts unnatural and undue pressure on the vertebrae and can cause serious damage.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.