3 Easy Stretches for a Stiff Neck

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

When your neck needs relief — like right now — these simple moves can save the day.

Neck muscles are small, but they have a big job to do — namely, help us hold our heavy heads (which weigh around 10 pounds) high.

And we don’t make their job easy. Less than stellar posture, reading in bed, scrolling through emails and social media posts on the phone are the super common activities that put our necks in an awkward, unnatural position that sparks neck pain. As we get older, age-related muscle decline and conditions like arthritis also factor into stiff, achy necks.

The pain often radiates down through the shoulder, upper back, and arms. Or you may notice shooting pains or a feeling of pins and needles in your muscles.

“Neck pain is something we can all relate to,” says SilverSneakers fitness expert Larysa DiDio. “It’s that common!”

Just because it’s common doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it.

How to Use the 3 Easy Stretches for a Stiff Neck

This short sequence of seated stretches can help you build more strength and flexibility in your neck, says DiDio. Use it often — at any time of the day — to reset your posture and give your neck muscles a short break.

The beauty of these stretches is that you can do them while you’re sitting at the kitchen table, while watching TV, or even in bed. A few reminders about proper stretching: You’re going for a gentle pull — if you feel any pain, you’ve gone too far. Simply reposition yourself and start over. When you feel that nice stretch, hold the position for at least 10 seconds, and up to 30 seconds.

Remember: Safety is key. The exercises here may be different or more advanced than your regular SilverSneakers class. If you have a chronic condition, an injury, or balance issues, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely. 

Ready to feel some relief? Press play and follow along with Larysa.

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Bonus Challenge: Try a SilverSneakers Yoga Class 

Yoga has a well-earned reputation for keeping muscles loose and limber — that includes your neck. Our beginner-friendly SilverSneakers Yoga class is a great addition to your fitness routine. (We also offer a more advanced Yoga Flow class.) Many of the moves are done seated, and you’re encouraged to keep your shoes on if that’s your preference. It’s offered both in-person at participating SilverSneakers fitness locations (review the gym’s schedule for exact times), or online with SilverSneakers LIVE. See the latest SilverSneakers LIVE schedule and RSVP for classes here

Another good SilverSneakers LIVE class to consider is our new Stress Management Series. Here, you’ll learn mindfulness techniques and tips to build emotional resiliency to manage stress more easily. It’s good for all fitness levels.

Just getting started with the Make Your Move Challenge? Find this weeks featured 10-Minute Flexibility and Mobility Workout here. And keep up with the challenge here.

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