by Kathy Smith
What ages you faster than any part of your body? Surprisingly, it’s not your face. It’s your neck. Often left out of sunscreen application and the victim of additional reflected sun, your neck’s wrinkles and slack skin often look years older than the face you protected with SPF and a wide-brimmed hat.
Your skin is the first thing people see when they look at you. It’s considered the largest organ in the human body — right up there with the intestines, lungs, and liver. It serves many purposes, including acting as our first defense against germs and the environment, and converting sunlight to vitamin D. The layer of fat under the skin’s surface helps ensure that the important fluids inside our bodies stay inside our bodies.
The ironic thing about skin is that when people are young, their biggest concern about their skin may be how to get a tan. But as we get older, our top skin priority becomes firming the muscles in the face and preventing wrinkles.
The epidermis – top layer of skin – on your neck is very delicate with only a thin layer of fat under it. A thinner fat layer means fewer oil glands so your neck also doesn’t get as much natural moisture as your face. And it often doesn’t get its share of topical moisturizers. On top of all this, “tech neck,” which you might be susceptible to if you are frequently looking down at mobile devices, helps set deep lines in your neck.
Although you may rarely hear about exercising your neck, those delicate muscles need movement just like the rest of your body and I’m going to show them to you in today’s video.
One way to naturally firm your neck muscles is with a technique called neck yoga. These simple exercises can help reduce wrinkling, and make your neck look younger.
Let’s start by stretching your neck.
This stretch involves bending the head forward and downward, toward the floor. It is important that your posture is straight and correct. In a normal range of motion, your chin should be able to touch your chest, without opening your jaw.
And now, let’s do a Lateral Flexion…which means “to the side.”
1. Tilting the head, moving your ears toward your shoulders, is the basis of this stretch. Be sure to keep your shoulders flat and do not lift them during this stretch. Normally, your head, while looking forward, should be at a rough 45-degree angle from your shoulders.
Now that the neck is stretched, let’s start working those muscles with three exercises.
1. Begin by placing one or both hands on your forehead.
2. Push your head against your hand(s) while providing resistance with your hand(s) so your head does not move beyond its original position.. You should feel your neck muscles working. Hold for 10 seconds
3. Place your right hand against the right side of your head and push your head to the right, maintaining that same resistance so your head doesn’t move from its original position. Hold for 10 seconds.
4. Repeat with the left hand on the left side of your head, pushing to the left. Hold for 10 seconds.
5. Finally, clasp your hands behind your head, and push your head backward against your hands to create pressure, and again hold for about ten seconds.
Now for the second exercise, stand with your back straight and shoulders relaxed.
1. Open you mouth in an “O” and cover your teeth with your lips.
2. Gently tilt your head back about 45 degrees. You should not feel any pain.
3. Now open and close your mouth 10 times. Take a break and repeat.
The third exercise involves your kissing muscles.
1. Tilt your head back, looking at the ceiling.
2. Now start kissing the ceiling, being sure to really purse and push your lips toward the ceiling. Complete two cycles of 10 kisses each.
Oh, don’t those simple exercises make your neck feel tighter already? Do them twice a day and you’ll start seeing results! Here’s to your health.