If you’re over 50, you probably know the benefits of exercise to keep your heart and body in shape. But consider your neck! There are many good reasons to follow a “neck-ercise” workout regimen. Over time, skin loses collagen and elasticity, causing it to sag around the neck and chin, a process that begins around age 20, according to Dr. Suzan Obagi, associate professor of dermatology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Factors like sun exposure, smoking and poor diet can intensify the process. Keeping your neck muscles toned will help to prevent sagging skin and wrinkles.
Below are six neck exercises to get you started. Most of all: keep your chin up—literally! If your chin is permanently tucked into your chest you are more likely to develop permanent creases in your neck, as well as putting your neck more at risk of injury.
2. Look straight ahead. Now look up to the ceiling and hold for five seconds. Slowly return to your starting position. Repeat 20 times.
3. Form an ‘O’ with your mouth. Pull down the sides of your mouth until you feel the muscles underneath your neck working. Repeat this three times in quick succession. Build up to 20 sets of threes.
4. With your mouth open, pronounce the vowels A to U without closing your mouth at any time. Repeat ten times, three times in a row.
5. Press the tip of your tongue against your palate for a few seconds and release. Do this throughout the day. Make circles with your tongue when your mouth is closed, first in one direction then the other. Repeat often.
6. Place your lower lip over the top lip and hold for a few seconds. Repeat ten times.
For even more neck-building exercises, check out this top ten list from Livestrong.com. (Click once on image at right, then click again in new window to enlarge.)