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Fitness Friday…Caring for our necks

Reliving tension from your neck

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The stress of the week can take its toll on our bodies and our minds.  One way to relieve some of the stress buildup from the week is to stretch your neck.  So much attention is put on the rest of the body and this important body part is often neglected.  The daily use of computers and hand held devices puts additional stress on our neck, head, and spinal cords and throws of the alignment in our bodies.

The average adult head weighs between 6-9 pounds and supported by the neck.  So it is important to keep the neck muscles loose and strong.

The benefits of neck stretches are vast and often overlooked.  Neck stretches benefits are:

  • Restores the flow of spinal fluid
  • Relieves shoulder and neck pain
  • Restores proper alignment of the neck and upper back
  • Prevents occurrences of tension headaches
  • Aids aerates the lungs(increases oxygen)
  • Injury prevention

Tips for neck stretches:  (PLEASE NOTE, THE NECK IS A SENSITIVE, SO PLEASE, PLEASE FOLLOW THESE EXERCISES EXACTLY AS MENTIONED AND BE GENTLE!)

  • Warm      up first
  • Hold each stretch for at least 20-30 seconds.
  • Don’t bounce
  • Focus on a pain-free stretch
  • Relax and breathe freely
  • Stretch both sides

This series of neck stretches are vital to your whole body’s health (according to www.neckpainreliefkit.com ):

Neck Flexion

Bring Your Chin to Your Chest Slowly and Hold for 10-15 seconds

The next neck exercise is called Lateral Flexion of the neck. Bring your left ear to your left shoulder as far as you are able to. Remember not to rotate or turn your head when you are doing this neck stretch, as you want to isolate the muscles involved in lateral flexion. Hold this position for 10-15 secionds. Repeat on the right side: Bring your right ear to the right shoulder. Repeat this for 5 times.

Neck Lateral Flexion

Bring your right ear to your right shoulder; Hold for 10-15 seconds.

Next part of the stretching sequence is called Rotation of the Cervical Spine. In this neck exercise you want to turn your head to the right as far as you possibly can, trying to bring your chin over your shoulders. When you are doing this neck exercise, do not bring up your shoulders. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds. Next do this on the left side of the neck and repeat for 5 times.

**** If you are having acute neck pain, you may not be able to do this exercise fully. That is okay. Turn your head and neck as far as it will go without pain and hold it at that point. Each time you do the exercise you will find that you will be able to do more and more.

Neck Rotation

Turn Your Head Right and Left; Hold for 10-15 seconds.

Here is a great video that teaches you how to give yourself a neck massage in the yoga “Rabbit” pose.
(Photo Source: http://photos.demandstudios.com/getty/article/142/69/77275690_XS.jpg and www.neckpainreliefpainkit.com )
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