Believe it or not, your neck needs exercise too! People need strong, flexible muscles in their necks to support their heads. Stress and fatigue show up early in neck muscles, which causes pain. Poor posture and poor body mechanics can lead to chronic neck problems. Fortunately, exercise can increase the strength and flexibility of the neck.
There are three types of exercise you can do to strengthen your neck:
This first exercise gives your neck flexibility. Sitting or standing, tuck your chin in. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Turn your head slowly and look over your shoulder. Hold for a count of five. Return to the starting position and drop your ear to your shoulder. Hold for a count of five. Repeat 3 times then switch sides.
This second type of exercise gives the neck strength. Sitting or standing, put your neck in a neutral position. Your head should be directly over your shoulders and you should be able to reach behind your neck and feel that you have a small curve. Slide your hand to the side of your head, and with the palm of your hand begin to press against your head. Gradually press harder, but do not let any movement take place. Use your neck muscles to keep your head in the same place. Hold for a count of five, and release slowly. Resist your hand from both sides of your head as well as from the front and the back.
The last type of exercise provides relaxation. Lie on your back and support the natural curve of your neck with a pillow or small towel. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth deeply three times, expanding your chest fully each time. Gently massage the top of each shoulder with the opposite hand.
Don’t let that pain in your neck become a chronic problem! Be sure to do each type of exercise every day to maintain the strength and flexibility of your neck.