Can You Exercise to Get a More Slender Neck?

Class stretching neck in row at yoga class
A group of adults stretching their necks during yoga (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

Exercise for a slender neck depends on your reasons for trimming the neck area. If you're carrying excess fat around your neckline, cardio workouts can help to shed fat all over your body, which includes your neck. If your neck appears stumpy from long stretches of hunched-over sitting or poor posture, stretching can elongate your neck and make it appear slimmer. Design an exercise regimen for your neck that suits your objectives.

Shed Fat to Expose a Swan

For most people, moderate-intense cardio performed over a reasonably long period -- jogging, cycling, swimming or rowing -- is a sustainable route to burning fat. A weight loss program typically requires a burn of 2,800 calories per week, according to "What You Must Know and Do to Lose Weight" by Ben Tan. If you exercise five days per week, you'll need to burn about 560 calories per workout to lose weight. By doing an hour-long cardio session at 70 percent of your maximum heart rate, you can hit this 560-calorie target. If you exercise on every day of the week, you can shorten your workouts; while you'll burn more calories with exercise at a higher intensity, you risk tiring quickly and truncating your workout. Focus on duration rather than intensity during the early stage of training, increasing the intensity of your workouts as you build endurance.

Elongate Out of the Hunch

The exquisite posture of dancers -- neck long, back erect and shoulders down -- creates the appearance of a slender neck. Because many people spend hours hovering over computers, poor posture results in which their necks scrunch down or jut forward. Stretching can help to lengthen a tight compressed neck. For example, begin a neck stretch by sitting erect on a chair. Exhale and gently pull your head back as if you're a turtle. Draw your chin toward your chest, lengthening your rear neck muscles. Inhale and raise your head, moving your chin toward the ceiling and elongating the muscles in the front of your neck. Repeat this nodding motion -- chin down, chin up -- for three reps. Other neck stretches involve turning your head from left to right as well as drawing your ear toward your shoulder on your right and left sides.

Strengthen to Combat Flabbiness

If you tone and sculpt your neck with isometrics or more intense resistance exercises, such as neck pulls with elastic bands, the exercise can counteract soft and sagging muscles and improve the appearance of your neckline. Isometrics involves placing your palm on your head in various positions to resist neck flexion, extension, rotation or the movement of your ear to your shoulder. For example, lie supine on the floor with knees bent and feet flat. Put your palm on your forehead. Press your head into your hand as you try and draw your chin to your chest. You should feel your front neck muscles contract. Hold this position for up to five seconds and then release. Perform 10 reps.

Diet to Whittle Down

In addition to a cardio regimen, follow a sensible diet to achieve the calorie deficit required to shed pounds and achieve a slim neck. According to the American Council on Exercise, a pound of fat amounts to 3,500 calories. If you want to lose a pound per week, aim for an average deficit of about 500 calories per day. Your diet should consist primarily of lean protein, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. Reduce the portion size of your meals and consume smaller meals throughout your day instead of three large meals. Your total fat consumption should amount to no more than 35 percent of your daily caloric intake. Also, moderate your intake of salty food, alcohol and caffeine.

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