October 8, 2014

#23 "Yoga Minute" Safe Neck Strengthener

A lot of people exercise the whole body but forget about the neck. Also, if your bedfast just 2 days you start losing strength in your neck that may cause pain. Our heads weigh an average of 10 pounds and if you have bad posture with the head forward you add a significant amount of weight for every couple inches forward the head is out of alignment.

How can we exercise our neck? Isometric exercises is one way I'm posting this week.

Unlike traditional exercises like weight lifting which involves lengthening of the muscles, isometric exercises have little or no joint movement or lengthening of the muscles. In an isometric neck exercise, the neck is held stable without movement to isolate the targeted muscles. The muscles are then allowed to grow stronger with resistance and no movement or pain. If you gradually increase the resistance, the muscles grow in strength and endurance.

This isometric neck strengthener is relatively safe (see Warning below). It's mainly a static pose (no movement) working all four sides of the head.

Begin by placing the palms of your hands on your forehead and apply pressure while simultaneously tightening the neck muscles and pushing the forehead against the hands and the head pushing into the hands until the resistance is balanced between the head and hands with no movement. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, release and rest for a count of 5 then move to the back of the head.

Now place both hands on the back of the head. It will be easier if the fingers are interlaced. Again apply pressure with the hands while simultaneously tightening your neck muscles and pushing the back of the head into the hands until the resistance is balanced between the head and hands with no movement. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds release and rest for a count of 5.

Next place your right hand against the right side of the head (not on video). Apply pressure with the right hand to the side of the head while simultaneously tightening the neck muscles and pushing the head sideways into the hand until the resistance is balanced with no movement. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds release and rest for a count of 5.

And finally take the left hand against the left side of the head (not in video). Apply pressure with the left hand to the side of the head while simultaneously tightening your neck muscles and pushing the head sideways into the hand until the resistance is balanced between the head and hand with no movement. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds release and rest for a count of 5.

Benefits: Build strength in the muscles of the neck. Can help reduce neck pain. Also helps with pain in your neck if you suffer from Arthritis. Also helps relieve stress.

Warning: Consult your doctor before performing these Isometric exercises if you have long term neck pain. Also, I don't recommend Isometrics of any kind if you have high blood pressure or heart problems. What happens is the the increase in muscle tension caused by the isometric exercises can significantly increase blood pressure.

These videos are designed for inactive beginners, seniors and people with most any illness or injury. The majority of these poses are in a chair and most can be done from a wheelchair. I’ll also be posting these videos on my You Tube Channel “Yoga Chuck” and Facebook page “Real Yoga, LLC”. All poses should be a No Pain No Pain practice and avoid having discomfort. 

How long to hold the pose: If pain is above a 5 on a scale of 0-10, then only hold the pose 10-15 seconds, you can repeat this multiple times. If your pain level is 5 or lower you can hold the pose 30 seconds to 1 minute. Listen to your body and make adjustments as needed. Explanation: If you’re pain level is above a 5 then the muscles are actually tightening to protect themselves, so you will no longer be stretching them. This is why you should come in and out of the pose multiple times in order to get a stretch with pain level above a 5.

Happy & Healthy,
Yoga Chuck

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