6 AM in faridabad, India – I step out for my morning walk in an adjacent park. It is just me – and this oldish looking gentleman sitting on a bench. I would have put him at no more than 70 years – tops. He greets me with a smile – and lets me continue with my walk. After 4 days of this – me walking – and him sitting , watching me walk, he calls me towards him.
I noticed that your neck droops when you walk. Let me show you three simple warmups for the neck before you start your walk.
And he proceeded to do so.
1. First, slowly lower your head so the chin touches your chest. Then slowly raise it back. ( do this 5 times)
2. Next, slowly tilt your head to touch your shoulder ( without raising your shoulder). Repeat with the other side. 5 repetitions each side.
3. Finally,keeping the head level , rotate your head sideways. Repeat 5 times for each side.
The SLOWLY part is important here. Most of us rotate or tilt our heads aggressively – which does not stretch the neck muscles correctly.
He proceeded to show me a couple of other side stretches – and then we started chatting. Turns out, he’s not 70 after all. He was 96 – with all systems functional ( except for his knees which were on their way out).
I thanked him and proceeded with the rest of my walk. Since then, I started following his advice – and ‘prepare’ my neck prior to any form of exercise. No more stiff shoulders or neck after any exercise. Thanks to my 96 year old park companion.