We all have parts of our bodies that seem to draw our attention more than others. For some, it’s the belly; for others, it’s the underarms; and for some, that area might be the neck. If you’ve ever felt self-conscious about your neck, just know that you’re not alone.
While it’s perfectly natural to have some fat in this area, it might be causing you concern. While it’s okay to have a goal in mind for your appearance, it’s also important to love yourself every step along the way — after all, our goal here is to support your well-being, inside and out.
So, let’s dive into this journey to learn what causes neck fat and, more importantly, how you can get rid of it.
What Is Neck Fat and Why Does It Matter?
Before we get into the solutions, let’s explore what we mean when we talk about “neck fat.” This area generally includes the fat deposits around the lower part of the jaw down to the collarbone.
While some level of fat is necessary for bodily functions and overall health, excessive fat in the neck area might be a cosmetic concern for some and, more importantly, can indicate underlying health conditions.
Neck fat can also affect your self-image. How we perceive ourselves can have far-reaching implications on our psychological well-being. Though it’s just one part of the body, its visibility can make it an area of focus and, at times, a source of insecurity.
Managing neck fat isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s about enhancing your overall quality of life.
What Causes Neck Fat?
The list of factors that contribute to neck fat is long but can easily be broken down into two categories: genetics and lifestyle choices. Here is a quick breakdown of these factors and how they contribute to neck fat.
Genetics can be a primary contributing factor when it comes to where your body stores fat. Some people are naturally predisposed to accumulate more fat in certain areas, including the neck. However, it’s empowering to know that genetics is not destiny.
With the right approach — incorporating proper nutrition, consistent exercise, and healthy lifestyle choices — you can absolutely support the appearance and overall health of your neck area. In other words, you’re not just a product of your genes; you have the agency to shape your future.
While genetics play a major role, your lifestyle choices are just as, if not more, impactful. What you eat and how much you move are extremely important when it comes to weight gain and distribution.
Here are some of the most important factors to consider:
- Dietary choices: Consuming high-calorie, processed foods contributes to overall weight gain, affecting all parts of your body, including your neck.
- Lack of exercise: Not engaging in physical activity can lead to weight gain and decreased muscle tone, including around your neck.
- Posture: Poor posture, such as hunching over your phone or computer, can weaken neck muscles over time, contributing to the appearance of neck fat.
- Alcohol consumption: Alcohol is often high in empty calories, which can lead to weight gain and fat accumulation around the neck.
- High sodium diet: Foods high in salt can cause water retention, giving the appearance of a fuller neck.
- Stress: Chronic stress can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms like overeating, which in turn can lead to weight gain.
- Sleep deprivation: Lack of sleep can lead to hormonal imbalances that encourage weight gain, affecting the neck area.
- Smoking: The toxins in cigarettes can affect the skin’s elasticity, contributing to the appearance of neck fat over time.
Understanding these lifestyle factors can empower you to make better choices that support not only a healthy neck but also overall well-being. Remember, the control is in your hands, and even small changes can make a significant impact.
10 Exercises To Help Burn Neck Fat
Exercise is a fabulous way to support your overall well-being and target specific areas that might need a little extra love. In this section, we’re diving into 10 exercises designed to engage the muscles in your neck region. But remember, these exercises are not a quick fix; they’re part of an overall lifestyle that prioritizes wellness from a holistic perspective. So, let’s get started!
1. Chin Lifts
Chin lifts target the muscles under your jaw and in the front of your neck. This exercise is a great starting point because it can effectively engage these muscles, supporting a more toned appearance over time when combined with other lifestyle choices.
- Stand or sit up straight.
- Tilt your head back so that you’re looking at the ceiling.
- Pucker your lips towards the ceiling, holding for five to 10 seconds.
- Release and bring your head back to neutral.
2. Neck Roll
Neck rolls are an excellent way to improve flexibility and reduce muscle tension. They target multiple areas of the neck and shoulders, offering a comprehensive approach to supporting your neck’s wellness.
- Sit or stand with a straight spine.
- Slowly rotate your head in a circular motion, making sure to extend the range of motion as far as comfortable.
- Complete five circles in one direction, then switch to the opposite direction.
3. Jaw Release
This exercise can easily be done while working at your desk or during a quick break. It helps relax the jaw and neck muscles, making it a great stress-relieving technique as well.
- Sit or stand straight.
- Inhale deeply through the nose, exhaling while humming.
- Open your mouth wide, keeping your tongue pressed to the bottom of your mouth.
- Inhale and exhale with an audible “ahh” sound.
- Close your mouth and repeat.
4. Platysma Exercise
The Platysma exercise targets the platysma muscle, which spans the neck and jawline and plays a significant role in neck and chin contouring.
- Sit or stand straight.
- Open your mouth widely.
- Pull your bottom lip over your bottom teeth.
- Move your jaw up and down as if you were trying to scoop something with your lower jaw.
- Do this five to 10 times.
5. Neck Stretch
Neck stretching is fundamental for maintaining flexibility and range of motion in the neck area, which can be especially beneficial for those who sit at a desk all day.
- Sit or stand straight.
- Tilt your head to one side, trying to touch your ear to your shoulder.
- Hold for 15 to 30 seconds and switch sides.
6. Blowing Air Exercise
The blowing air exercise is a stellar choice for anyone looking to engage multiple muscles around the neck and under the jaw. This exercise may not only support the strengthening of your neck muscles but can also contribute to better muscle engagement and, as a result, better posture.
- Sit on a chair with your back straight.
- Tilt your head back so you’re looking at the ceiling.
- Blow air out of your mouth while keeping it closed.
- Repeat five to 10 times.
7. Fish Face
The fish face exercise is as fun as it sounds! Simply suck in your cheeks and lips, imitating a fish face, and try to smile at the same time. Hold this position for five seconds before releasing and going back to your regular expression.
The beauty of the fish face exercise is its sheer simplicity and convenience. Whether you’re at the office, watching TV, or even waiting for your coffee to brew, this exercise can easily be woven into any part of your day. It’s a fun, easy-to-remember way to make your well-being a constant part of your routine.
8. Lion’s Yawn
Open your mouth wide, extend your tongue out as far as it goes, and exhale, mimicking a yawning lion. This action engages various muscles in your neck and face, encouraging better posture and muscle engagement.
Regularly doing the lion’s yawn exercise can serve as a subtle reminder to keep your posture in check. It’s a dynamic way to stretch and engage various muscle groups, which is a wonderful addition to any holistic wellness routine.
9. Neck Tilt Exercise
The neck tilt exercise is a versatile addition to your wellness routine. It targets areas of the neck that may not get as much attention in other exercises, providing a more comprehensive approach to your neck’s well-being.
- Sit or stand with your back straight.
- Slowly tilt your head back until you’re looking at the ceiling.
- Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth.
- Hold for five seconds, then release.
10. Neck Twists
Remember to keep your spine straight throughout the exercise and avoid making quick, jerky movements. Gentle, slow movements are key to properly engaging the muscles and ensuring that you’re getting the most benefit out of this exercise.
- Sit or stand up straight, ensuring good posture.
- Slowly turn your head to one side until your chin is over your shoulder.
- Hold the position for five seconds before slowly returning to the center.
- Repeat on the other side.
How Can Diet and Lifestyle Help With Neck Fat?
The exercises we’ve discussed are wonderful tools to add to your wellness toolkit, but remember: no exercise routine is complete without giving equal attention to diet and lifestyle.
The foods you consume and the daily activities you engage in play an integral role in your overall well-being and = in maintaining a neck that you can feel confident about.
The Importance of Nutrition
You are what you eat, and your diet can significantly support your efforts to maintain a healthy neck. A balanced diet rich in natural, whole foods — like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains — can provide the essential nutrients your body needs to function at its best.
When it comes to supporting your skin, there are some nutrients that help more than others. Collagen, for example, is essential for healthy skin elasticity, so be sure to opt for collagen-rich foods like citrus fruits and leafy greens.
Consider a bone broth-based vegetable soup for lunch. Bone broth is a traditional remedy packed with amino acids and minerals and is rich in natural collagen. You can combine it with an array of vegetables for a meal that’s both nutritious and supportive of your wellness goals.
Role of Regular Exercise
While targeted neck exercises are invaluable, it’s crucial to incorporate regular exercise into your lifestyle to support overall body wellness. Cardiovascular activities like walking, cycling, or swimming can complement your targeted neck exercises and can be easily included in your daily routine.
Commit to a 30-minute walk after dinner or try short, 10-minute exercise sessions throughout the day. The key is consistency and making exercise a non-negotiable part of your day.
Practicing mindfulness can help you become more aware of your posture and muscle tension, both of which are closely related to neck well-being. Incorporating yoga into your routine can also aid in better posture and flexibility, which naturally supports neck health.
Finally, bone broth isn’t the only traditional remedy worth considering. Herbal teas like chamomile or green tea also offer a variety of benefits that can complement your holistic wellness journey.
The Bottom Line
Keep in mind that reducing neck fat isn’t only about engaging in targeted exercises. It’s about adopting a holistic approach that incorporates proper nutrition, regular exercise, and lifestyle choices that promote overall well-being. Remember, you have the power to transform not just your neck but your entire life.
Why journey alone when you can have a trusted companion? Dr. Kellyann is here to support you with additional tips, recipes, and personalized plans to help you feel and look your absolute best. Consider taking the first step today by exploring Dr. Kellyann’s various programs designed to empower you on your wellness journey.
What Are the Causes of Excessive Fat Around the Neck? | Livestrong
Our Genes Affect Where Fat Is Stored in Our Bodies | ScienceDaily
Healthy Eating Plate | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Mindfulness for Your Health | NIH
Try These Yoga Poses To Improve Your Flexibility | Cleveland Clinic
Self-Esteem in a Broad-Spectrum Approach for Mental Health Promotion | Health Education Research | Oxford Academic
Factors Affecting Weight & Health | NIDDK