You may be pretty proud of your fitness program. For the most part you’ve got it going on. You’ve figured out your warm-up exercises that stretch for flexibility. Next you move to cardio where you may work out on the treadmill, or go biking, jogging, or swimming. You’re smart enough to include strength exercises perhaps by using your weights at home or utilizing the equipment at your local gym.
Include Neck Exercises
But wait a minute. At what point do you include your neck exercises?
If you’re puzzled by that question, that’s a good clue that you may be omitting this very important area.
Due to a good fitness program and a healthy diet, a person may have a young-looking face past middle age. But the neck? Well, the neck area is beginning to look a little saggy and wrinkly. Or may even be developing a double chin. No thought was given to neck stretches or any type of neck exercise.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Whether due to major weight loss, or due to the aging process, over time the neck area seems to take on a life of its own. Almost without fail, the neck ages long before the face.
While some fitness areas are gender specific, the neck has no such distinction. Men detest their double chin (or wrinkly, saggy neck) as much or more than women.
Take A Closer Look
Let’s take a closer look as this dilemma.
Take a moment right now and reach up and feel your neck. Notice anything that is not there? How about bone structure? Other muscles in your body are attached to the bones – or to the skeletal structure.
Not the neck muscles. They attach to other muscles in the face which in turn are attached to bone. Hence the reason you see sagging neck skin, or a double chin.
What Affects Skin Elasticity?
As a person ages the skin begins to lose its elasticity. If an older person pinches skin on the back of the hand, and a younger person does the same, whose skin do you think takes longer to return to its original state? The older person’s, of course.
There is a combination of factors that cause elasticity in the skin, but the main two are collagen and elastin. Basically, these components work to hold your skin together. The stores of these two essential elements in the body decline as we grow older. The skin actually becomes thinner as it loses elasticity.
At first, you may not notice the change. But one day you either look at your reflection in the mirror, or you see a candid photo of yourself and there it is – the wrinkly sagging skin. What a shock. While you may not like it, up till now you may have thought there is little you can do about it.
You are about to learn differently.
Neck Exercises And Stretches
Contrary to what you may have thought, there are exercises designed specifically for firming the neck area. Neck exercises and stretches can do wonders to firm up and tone that soft, unsupported skin. These exercises will also work to reduce the fat build-up – such as in a double chin.
Just as with any workout, progress will come from persistence, commitment and discipline.
While there are any number of these various exercises, three will be outlined in this article. These will allow you to get started right away.
Sit upright. Tilt your head back until you are looking at the ceiling. Close your lips. Start a chewing movement.
The muscles in your neck and throat area will begin working. You can feel it immediately.
If you repeat this exercise 20 times and do it every day, you will be excited at the results.
Sit upright. Tilt your head back until you are looking at the ceiling.
Close your lips and relax. Next pucker as though you were kissing.
Now stretch as far as you can – pretend you are kissing the ceiling.
Hold the position to the count of ten. Lower your head to a normal position.
Repeat 5 times.
Sit upright. Tilt your head back until you are looking at the ceiling. Close your lips and relax.
Now stretch your lower lip up over the top lip. Stretch it as far as possible. Hold the position to the count of five.
Lower your head to a normal position. Repeat 5 times.
Discipline And Patience
Add these neck workouts to your regular exercise regimen, but be aware. The neck muscles are not as easy to develop as say your calves or your abs. This is why discipline and patience is called for. Neck fat exercises may take a little longer to effect results than, say midriff exercises.
While neck toning exercises are highly beneficial in maintaining a youthful appearance, keep in mind the other aspects of health and nutrition that aid in healthy skin.
More Tips For Healthy Skin
Make it a point to add a wide variety of raw fruits and vegetables to your diet.
Lutein is a carotenoid that is especially powerful in increasing skin elasticity. It is found in such foods as egg yolk, sweet potatoes, spinach and kale. The body does not produce lutein; it must be consumed. Make sure you eat such foods each day. A healthy diet should be part of your fitness regimen, and especially as it affects the skin.
Avoid fast foods, and sugar-laden desserts and snacks. Refined sugar is known to severely damage the collagen, causing the skin to be dull, lifeless and wrinkled.
Stress is also a factor in aging skin which includes wrinkles and a sagging neck. How? Basically, stress weakens your immune system which in turn results in poor skin conditions. Rest and proper sleep patterns are often adversely affected by stress.
As you age, make it a point to learn relaxation and meditation exercises designed to keep you in a peaceful state of balance. It is true that stress contributes to wrinkles, and speeds up the process of aging. So why give the aging process any further assistance?
If you have never given your neck area the preferential treatment that it requires and deserves, hopefully what you have learned here will change your mind. You can begin right now to incorporate the neck strengthening exercises listed here. On down the road, you’ll be so glad you did.