Eighty percent of people over the age of 18 have had or will have neck pain during their lives, according to the American Council on Exercise. Neck injuries are generally caused by poor posture, sitting too much and a lack of exercise, which leads to weak muscles. Fortunately, this problem can often be reversed with an improved posture, exercise and lifestyle changes. However, do not engage in high-impact aerobics with a neck injury. Although aerobic exercise can be beneficial, engage in stretching exercises that increase flexibility as well. Speak to a doctor and/or a physical therapist to determine the best way to help your neck.
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Before engaging in aerobic exercise when you have a neck injury, remember to warm up so you do not further injure your neck. Before and after your exercise session, stretch your neck and entire body to support your neck. One neck stretch to try is "neck extensions." Keep your back straight and bend your head to your chest. Gently turn your head til it is over your left shoulder and hold it for a few seconds. Rotate down and up to the other side. Perform this whole movement about five times.
Walking is one type of aerobic exercise to try with a neck injury. This is a low-impact activity that will not likely add strain to your neck, as jogging or running can. Walking has the lowest rates of causing injury, according to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Walking will strengthen weak muscles in your body, giving your neck more support. To prevent further strain and injury, keep your posture in mind while walking so your back and neck make a straight line. If walking does aggravate your pain, stop performing this activity and find another.
Cycling is another low-impact activity that keeps your body steady instead of bobbing your head up and down, adding extra strain on your neck. Like walking, cycling will build muscle to support a weak neck. Once again, pay attention to your posture while cycling to make sure your neck is supported. If you need to lean forward too far to reach the handles, your bicycle might be the wrong size for you.
Swimming is another beneficial aerobic exercise if you have a neck injury. Swimming is one of the lowest impact exercises you can engage in since the water takes away gravity and helps you float, making this is an easier exercise on your joints, bones and muscles. In the pool, you can perform exercises in addition to regular swimming, such as walking, jogging and strength exercises. The water provides resistance that helps you increase your muscle strength without straining your body as much as you would on dry land. MayoClinic.com suggests using water shoes to prevent any injuries from slipping on the bottom of the pool and to make the most out of your workout.