Age Defying Moves To Keep You Active – Part 3

How To Relieve Your Neck Pain:

Neck tightness is a common nuisance that can disrupt your entire day…and night. Short term fixes such as pain-relieving medication, massage and chiropractic care may be helpful but do not always address the real cause.

Most neck pain is rooted not in the spine, but in the muscles of the upper trapezius region that support the shoulder and arm. Sitting in front of a computer for a prolonged time or constantly checking your cell phone causes them to overwork and eventually shorten and strain – you can actually see the distance between your ear and shoulder shrink!

To protect your shoulders and allow for normal neck motion and function, you want to strengthen the opposing muscles on the sides of the neck and upper trapezius muscles located at the back of the neck and the upper spine.

You want to focus the strengthening in the lower portion of the  trapezius, the muscle that runs from the sides and back of the shoulders and shoulder blade all the way to your mid-back. All it takes is two progressive resistance exercises. They can be done with weights or resistance bands as shown.

For each exercise: Perform three sets of 10 repetitions with one-minute rests between sets, three times a week, always with a day of rest in between.

Start with a resistance equal to an exertion level of eight out of 10 (10 feels as if you are over-exerting, and 0 feels as if you are doing nothing). Stay at this level until muscles adapt and grow and the exertion level feels like five out of 10.

This is when you increase the resistance until it feels like an eight out of 10 again.

Do this by using a heavier weight or by grabbing higher on the band or switching to a band that has a stronger tension.

Instructions here are for bands but use the same positioning and movement if you are using weights.

Lat Pulldown:

Use a door anchor specifically designed to work with resistance bands to attach the center of your bands to the top of a closed door. Sit in a sturdy chair and lean slightly back. Hold one end of the band in each hand with arms nearly straight, elbows relaxed. Pull down the band, keeping arms wide and bringing elbows just under shoulder level and slightly bend the line of the shoulders – the shoulder blades should squeeze together. If the elbows drop lower than shoulder level, you are using the wrong muscles.

Lower Trapezius:

Sit in a sturdy chair and lean back slightly. Secure one end of the resistance band to the chair or under the one foot and hold the other end of the band in your opposite hand. You arm should be at a 45-degree angle, midway between your chest and your side, hand at eye height and elbow relaxed. Keep your arm straight and raise it to about a 130-to-140 degree (elbow is about level with your cheek). Return to start. Repeat all reps and sets. Then repeat on the left side.

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