<> <>
Health Hub

How to tone your neck: Exercises and tips for a slimmer neck

Neck fat is caused by several factors, from genetics to lifestyle and more.

How to Get Rid of Neck Fat | Juniper

Have you been noticing that frustrating double chin pop up in photos recently? Has it got you wondering how to get rid of neck fat, or whether there's a double chin surgery you might want to look into? You're not alone.

The accumulation of excess fat in the neck area can be a source of concern for many individuals, impacting both aesthetics and self-confidence. Several things contribute to the development of neck fat and the dreaded double chin, and understanding these factors is crucial for effective prevention and management.

Ahead, we'll break down exactly what causes a double chin, whether there are any chin exercises you can do to tighten neck muscles, and how you can lose excess weight around the neck area for a happier, healthier you.

What causes neck fat?

Like fat in any area of the body, neck fat — or the dreaded double chin — is caused by several factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and hormonal factors.

Primarily, neck fat is the result of a sedentary lifestyle coupled with poor dietary choices, as this often results in weight gain, including in the neck region [1]. Genetics also play a role, and some individuals may be predisposed to storing fat in specific areas. Certain medical conditions and medications may also cause weight gain and, in turn, a double chin.

Beyond that, the ageing process often results in a natural redistribution of fat, and the neck is a common site where you can see that at play [2]. As we get older, our skin also loses its elasticity, which can make the fat cells more noticeable. Hormonal changes, particularly the ones that occur during pregnancy or menopause, can also affect fat distribution in the body [3].

How to tell if you have excess neck fat

The easiest way to determine if you have excess neck fat is with a combination of visual and physical assessments. Chances are, if you're reading this article, you may have already spotted a noticeable double chin in the mirror or in selfies, which is possibly the most common indicator of excess weight in general.

Another visual tell is loose or saggy skin beneath your chin and around your neck, which could also be an indicator of extra fat in the area.

Beyond that, there are some simple physical assessments you can perform at home that will help you determine if a double chin or neck fat is becoming an issue:

  • Neck size: One way to tell if you have excess neck fat is to measure your neck circumference with a tape measure, and then check that against the recommended norms for your age and gender [4].
  • Body mass index (BMI): Because neck fat is often a sign of being overweight, your BMI can also give you a general idea of whether your neck area is carrying extra weight [5].
  • Mirror check: Possibly the easiest and most straightforward option, you can simply look in the mirror [7] and observe your neck from different angles, as you move from a normal position to tilting your chin down, or rotating your head from side to side. You can also try pinching the skin under your chin — if you can grasp a significant amount of skin, it may indicate excess submental fat cells.
  • Clothing fit: If you're experiencing a tight feeling while wearing shirts or necklaces, it might suggest an increase in neck fat.

Can you get surgery for neck fat reduction?

If you're dealing with sagging skin or a double chin that's impacting your self-confidence, you're likely wondering how to get rid of neck fat, and more specifically, if there's a surgical procedure for double chin removal.

The answer is yes. Double chin surgery does exist, and it can help you get rid of neck fat and remove extra skin. The 2 main surgical options for reducing neck fat are liposuction and neck lift surgery.

  • Liposuction: Liposuction under the chin can help you lose neck fat, as it removes submental fat, sculpting the chin and neck as it goes [6]. Liposuction usually uses only local anaesthetic, where the doctor will make a small incision, before inserting a thin tube (cannula) into the area to suction out the fat cells.
  • Neck lift surgery: Also known as cervicoplasty or platysmaplasty, this procedure is designed to remove excess skin, muscle bands, and excess submental fat in the area [6]. Aside from addressing the loose skin, a neck lift may also involve tightening the underlying lower jaw muscles. In this procedure, the surgeon will put you under anaesthesia and make incisions around the ears and under the chin [8].

It's crucial to note that while neck lift procedures may help you get rid of neck fat, they also come with risks and potential side effects. The recovery time for each procedure will vary, and anyone considering a neck lift procedure should carefully weigh the potential benefits against the risks.

Before deciding on any surgery, you should consult with a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon. It may be that your double chin woes can be addressed with a healthy diet and losing weight in general.

6 effective neck exercises

While exercising the muscles in your neck can help improve muscle tone, enhance your overall neck strength, and reduce the appearance of sagging, they may not actually help you lose that turkey neck for good.

More often than not, a double chin is less about excess fat in the neck, and more about general body fat levels. So, double chin exercises will be helpful, but only if you're also putting in the work to lose weight overall.

It's also important to note that you should approach neck exercises with caution to avoid strain or injury. If you have any pre-existing neck conditions or concerns, you should seek proper medical advice from a doctor or physio before starting a new exercise routine. Always perform neck exercises with slow and controlled movements, and avoid exercises that cause pain or discomfort. If you do experience any neck pain or discomfort, seek medical advice.

Here are some targeted exercises that can help reduce fat in the neck area.

1. Neck tilts

  • Sit or stand with your back straight
  • Slowly tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear toward your shoulder
  • Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds
  • Repeat on the other side

2. Neck turns

  • Turn your head to one side, looking over your shoulder
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds
  • Repeat on the other side

Neck flexion and extension

  • Slowly lower your chin toward your chest, feeling a stretch in the back of your neck
  • Hold for 15-30 seconds
  • Gently lift your head back up

Isometric neck exercises

  • Place your hand on one side of your head
  • Try to gently push your head against your hand while resisting the movement with your neck muscles
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds
  • Repeat on the other side

Neck lifts

  • Lie on your back with your head hanging slightly off the edge of a bed or bench
  • Slowly lift your head toward your chest using your neck muscles
  • Hold for a few seconds, then lower your head back down

Neck isolations

  • Sit or stand with your back straight
  • Slowly tilt your head forward, then to the side, then backward, and then to the other side, creating a circular motion
  • Repeat the circular motion for 30 seconds, then reverse the direction

Lifestyle tips to lose neck fat

If you want to get rid of neck fat, the most straightforward approach is to lose weight with a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise.

By cutting back on junk food snacks, drinking enough water and eating a diet of lean protein and vegetables, you'll likely see improvements to both neck and body fat. But it's easier said than done, right?

That's where Juniper can help. If losing neck fat is a priority for you, but you haven't been able to make weight loss stick in the past, Juniper's Weight Reset Programme might be just what you're looking for.

This programme is a medical pathway for long-term weight loss, designed by British clinicians and dietitians. With proven weight loss medications that help you lose weight, and lifestyle coaching to help you keep it off in the future, it's about more than just weight loss — it's about making you feel confident and empowered in your own body.

Image credit: Getty Images