Monday, January 4, 2010
Fixing Your Aging Neck
The neck is quite often the tell tale sign of aging in humans. The robustness of a young athlete may be revealed in the full, strong, vibrant neck. On the opposite end of life, the weak, crooked, and wrinkled neck is often a sign that life on this planet is coming to a close. It's a very visual part of the human experience.
The cosmetic component is valid, but the health issue is even more valid. A strong neck will save your life in a fall, accident, or trauma. Weak, undermuscled necks are more susceptible to whiplash, knock out, or even muscle strains.
Too often the first action taken, when you are aware of how bad your neck looks is a sprint to the plastic surgeon's office. This is effective in terms of the visual aspect, but not so effective in the practical aspect. Good surgeons can clip muscles and tighten skin and change your visual age dramatically. They offer little in the way of strengthening the neck or making it more robust and functional. Only exercise can do that. Here are some simple guidelines that can make you younger in weeks, and possibly,..... save your neck.
First off, visit your doctor to determine if exercise is appropriate for you. He may know nothing about exercise and tell you only to do walking. Fire him as a doctor and get another one who trains and has an interest in health.
These exercises use only the weight of your skull initially, to stimulate muscle growth. Most everyone is SO weak in this area, that the skull will be a sufficient level of resistance.
Lay on a bed or better yet, and exercise bench, face down, with the head free to move through it's full range of motion. Your head should be hanging over the bed or bench. Simply raise the head up and down VERY slowly for 4 repetitions. Here is the interesting part. Each repetition will take ten seconds to raise, and ten seconds to lower. This slow speed of movement will keep soreness to a minimum, and safety at an optimum. When you are finished roll to your side and repeat. You may have to brace your lower arm on the floor to be stable and secure. Make sure to work both sides of the neck. Then roll on your back. Let your head hang free and slowly lift it, bringing your chin to your chest. The key of this exercise is very slow movement.
Repeat this drill three times each week for two weeks. Then it is time to add manual resistance in the form of your own palms pressing against your head. Resistance should be smooth and even, with the same 10 second cadence. All four sides of your neck should be trained evenly. One month of training will have you actually resisting fairly hard. From here, the next step is having a training partner, someone you trust, to apply resistance in all four directions. This is the highest level of training and is used by elite athletes, but can be scaled to any trainee at any fitness level.
This simple, safe, progression will change your appearance and give you a healthier, stronger, neck. The only frosting on the cake is to use ample sunscreen to prevent sun damage and cross linkage of the skin that covers those newly developed muscles. Forget about anti wrinkling creams, jams, jellies, and marmalades. The true anti aging skin cream is called sun screen and the only true anti aging neck process is call exercise.