Only 3 minute neck stretch can relieve neck pain, relax stiffness in the neck and improve blood flow.
If your job requires you to sit 8 hours a day at a desk, you can’t avoid that. But you can avoid neck pain.
Bad posture, long hours sitting, and poor sleeping position will result in tightness in the neck or stiff neck. Stiff neck causes constricted blood vessels which decreases blood flow to the brain. This can lead to headaches, trouble focusing, impaired memory, dizziness to name a few. Daily neck stretch can eliminate stiffness and improve blood flow.
Benefits of doing neck stretch every day
Daily neck stretch will help you maintain your natural range of motion. This is important especially if you spend long hours sitting, looking at the computer, or standing with poor posture. People who lack regular physical activity will often suffer neck stiffness and in general have problems in the neck and shoulder region. This all can be prevented by taking 3 minutes, a few times a day to stretch the neck. If you’re at work, set a reminder every 1 or 2 hours to do a neck stretch. It’s such a little thing but it will have a major impact on your neck health and your concentration. These stretches are easy, and you can do them sitting or standing, at any moment throughout the day. You don’t even have to do them all at once. You can do one stretch, then a little bit later another one.
Why rolling your neck is not good for you
Neck circles or rolling your neck is the most common pre-workout stretch. But this is a really bad stretch, it’s probably one of the worst “exercises” you can do to your neck. Rotating and extending your neck puts stress on your cervical spine, compresses arteries, and wears out joints.
Rolling full circles with the neck is one unnatural movement that may cause injury and will not give you the benefits you want from neck stretches.
A much safer and more effective way to stretch the neck is to tilt your head in one direction, stretch one set of muscles at a time, and bring it back to neutral.
3 Minute Neck Stretch For Improved Blood Flow
Breathing deeply through these stretches will bring fresh, oxygenated blood to the brain. This will make you feel wide awake, alert, and ready to focus on any task.
Start from a sitting or standing position. Roll your shoulders back, pull your belly button and engage your core, keep your head in a neutral position looking straight in front of you.
Slowly move your chin slightly down and back, like your trying to touch your upper neck with the chin. Feel the stretch in the back of your neck. If you feel any pain or discomfort ease the stretch. The stretch should always feel pleasant. Once you are in a comfortable position, take one slow, deep breath and then move your head back to neutral. Repeat two more times.
Ear to shoulder
Starting from a neutral position slowly tilt your head to the right side, like you want to touch your shoulder with your ear. But don’t lift up your shoulder. If you’re sitting you can hold the seat of the chair with your left hand to stabilize your posture. To get deeper into the stretch you can reach your right hand over your head and rest it on the left side of your head, gently push your head lower. Hold for 20 seconds then bring back to the neutral position. Repeat the stretch on the other side.
From a neutral position slowly lean your head back and look up to the sky. Hold the position for 20 seconds. Then slowly move your head down and bring your chin towards your chest. Hold the position for 20 seconds. Bring your head back to neutral. Make sure to keep your back straight. Move only your head without arching your back.
Without moving your upper body, slowly rotate your head left while trying to look behind over the left shoulder. Hold the position for 20 seconds. Rotate head back to the middle. Then slowly rotate your head right, hold the position for 20 seconds. Rotate head back to the middle.
Levator scapula stretch
Start from the neutral position. Raise your right arm over your head, bend the elbow and place your hand on the right shoulder blade (or as close as you can so you’re comfortable). Rotate your head slightly to the left and lower your head as if you want to look at your left knee. Then take your left hand and place it on the back of your head and gently push your head down so you feel a stretch on the right side of your neck. Hold for 20 seconds. Repeat the same on the other side.
Here is a video demonstration of this stretch.