Father Time is no respecter of persons and will leave his calling card with everyone. Skin and body parts start to droop and sag as you get older. One thing that you may be battling at a certain age is a turkey neck. It’s a self-deprecating term, describing the loosening of the skin around the jawline and neck.
As your body’s largest organ, your skin covers and protects you from head to toe. Not only does it protect your muscles and inner organs, but it provides a cooling system for your body. It is amazingly elastic and supple and moves quickly with your muscles.
Collagen and other nutrients keep your skintight, smooth, and elastic when you’re younger. Unfortunately, collagen wanes with age, and your skin doesn’t snap back as it used to in your youth. Tell-tale signs of sagginess show all over your body, especially your face and neck.
What is a Turkey Neck?
Although the skin on your face and neck is exceptionally elastic, it is also quite delicate. It’s one of the first places that begin to show fine lines, wrinkles, and sags as you get a little older. Your once graceful swan neck may be turning into an unsightly turkey waddle.
Have you noticed a little wiggle in the skin on your neck lately that didn’t use to be there? Perhaps your elegant chin has become droopy, much to your chagrin. Maybe you’ve taken to wearing turtleneck tops or colorful scarves to camouflage your turkey waddle.
How do people develop these dreaded waddles like the classic Thanksgiving bird? The usual culprit is age and a loss of collagen and skin elasticity. If one or both of your aging parents have a wobbly neck, chances are you will too later in life. Sadly, this condition can be hereditary.
Were you a sun worshipper and tanner when you were young? Your skin will pay the price of your adoration with extensive sun damage. The UV radiation from the sun absorbs into the inner layers of your skin and destroys vital skin cells responsible for elasticity. You can often recognize serial sunbathers by their dark, wrinkled, leathery skin.
Since sun damage affects collagen production, it’s understandable that it would result in sagging facial skin and a turkey waddle. One way you can reduce the chances of sun damage is to wear sunscreen and keep your skin covered from the damaging rays. Stay out of the sun during peak UV ray times like mid-afternoon, if possible.
It may have been “cool” to smoke when you were a teenager, but it will eventually take a toll on your body. Every organ and system is negatively affected by smoking, even your skin. Whether you smoke cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, your skin will show the inevitable signs.
Like sun damage, smoking damages skin cells, and your skin loses its glow and suppleness sooner. Smoking also depletes your body of oxygen, which is bad news for your skin. Many smokers have deep wrinkles, leathery skin, and a droopy turkey neck.
It’s no surprise that obesity is a severe epidemic in America, especially with children. When you eat too many calories than you burn, your body stores them as excess fat. Your skin must strain its elasticity to the brink to accommodate the extra cushioning.
Your face and neck are no exception. If you are overweight or obese, you will often notice a fatty deposit under your chin, often called a double chin. When you are younger, your chin is stout and firm.
Losing extra weight to be healthy is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. As your body gets rid of the excess fatty deposits, it may be challenging to get your stretched-out skin to snap back, especially if you’re older. Your once double chin may turn into an unsightly turkey waddle.
Seven Neck Exercises to Help Avoid or Reduce Turkey Neck
For some people, camouflage is key for minimizing their turkey waddle. Many fashion experts recommend avoiding low-cut or sweetheart necklines in favor of crew or turtlenecks. You may also wear pretty scarves that draw the eyes to your face instead of your neck.
Did you know that your neck has many muscles that support your head, upper spine, and upper chest? When you do specific workouts for these areas, the strengthened muscles can tighten the skin around your neck. So, your neck needs proper exercise to avoid or minimize the turkey neck.
Remember that no amount of diet and working out will return it entirely to normal once the skin is stretched out. However, you needn’t go under the plastic surgeon’s knife to reduce your turkey waddle. If you have a daily workout regimen, these neck exercises would be easy to incorporate into it.
You can do all seven of them 2-3 times a week, or you may try doing one a day each day. The idea is to tone and strengthen your neck and chin, not to cause pain or injury. Here are seven helpful workouts that can strengthen your neck, and give it a better definition.
1. Howling at the Moon
•Raise your head until you’re looking at the ceiling or sky.
•Put your right hand on your collarbone and push down gently.
•Now, push your jaw and lower lip toward the ceiling/sky. You should feel a slight pulling sensation across your neck. Do this step for five repetitions.
•Switch to your left hand and repeat the steps another five times.
2. Neck Lifts
•Lie flat on your back on your workout mat. Then, gently raise your head and neck until it’s slightly off the mat.
•With your head and neck still up, slowly turn your head to the left, to the right, then forward again. Lower your head gently back unto the mat into the starting position.
•Do these steps for 5-10 repetitions. Be sure to make small, gentle, controlled movements. If you feel any pain, stop immediately. This is a good strengthening and toning workout for better definition.
3. Chewing Bubble Gum
•Sit up straight on your workout mat or in a chair. Tip your head back gently to look at the ceiling while keeping your mouth closed.
•While your mouth is still closed, slowly open and close your teeth like chewing bubble gum.
•Do at least 15-20 repetitions.
4. Head Pushes
•You may sit on your workout mat, stand, or sit in a chair for this exercise.
•Put your right hand on your forehead. Gently press against your hand without letting your head go forward.
•Hold this position for 5-10 breaths. This works the muscles in the front of your neck.
•Now, bring your hands behind your head and intertwine your fingers. Push your head gently to add some tension to the muscles. Try not to let your head move.
•Hold this position for 5-10 breaths. You are now working the muscles in the back of your neck.
5. Kiss the Sun
•Sit up straight on a workout mat or a chair. Gently lift your head to look at the ceiling or sky.
•Purse your lips as if you are offering the sun a big smooch.
•Now, do 15-20 kisses slowly in the air, lower your head to the starting position.
•You can rest for 5 minutes and do another set of 15-20 kisses if you like.
5. Awakening Neck Lifts
•Relax on your bed, face down, and allow your body to be smooth and relaxed. Your head should be comfortably dangling from the end of the bed.
•Now, slowly lift your head until it’s level with the bed. Hold this position for 1-2 breaths, then gently lower your head to the starting position. Try to do 3-5 repetitions, resting between them if needed.
•Remember to keep your movements slow and gentle. Fast or jerking action can cause pain or damage to your neck muscles. If you feel any problem at all while doing this movement, stop at once.
6. The Swan
•You can do this classic yoga workout while standing, sitting on your workout mat, or sitting in a chair.
•First, turn your head slowly to the left and gently tilt it back. You should feel a little stretching and tension in your neck muscles, but no pain. Don’t twist your neck too far and stop immediately if you start hurting. Hold the position for 5-10 breaths.
•Slowly bring your head back to the start position, then repeat by turning your head to the right.
7. Upward Dog
•Here’s another yoga position that will help tone your neck. Start by lying on your belly on your workout mat.
•Gently push your upper body up with your arms straight and positioned right under your shoulders. Gently tilt your head back and hold the position for at least 3-5 breaths. Do at least 3-5 repetitions.
Final Thoughts on Battling A Turkey Neck
While you strengthen and tone your body, don’t neglect your chin and neck. If you make it part of your regimen early enough, you may avoid the dreaded turkey neck. Or you can minimize the one that you already have.