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Can Face Exercises Help Us Look Younger?

Can Face Exercises Help Us Look Younger? Here is a look at research and 9 exercises that can help you look and feel your best. 

Can Face Exercises Help Us Look Younger?

Article written by Elise Marquam-Jahns

Up until the age of 34, I was a complete couch potato. When I was young, I’d danced for a number of years, but was totally a non-athlete in every other way. But at 34, I started taking dancercise classes (does anybody remember those?) and a few years later my husband, who was a jogger, actually got me started jogging–which I never thought I’d do.

Eventually, he also got me into strength training. I now walk instead of jog, but I still regularly do strength training. So because I’ve done this exercise regimen for many years, I’ve always thought: why wouldn’t exercise help our faces? It only seems logical that if exercise helps the rest of our body in many ways, why wouldn’t it also help our face muscles?

Curiosity Doesn’t Always Kill the Cat!

I was always curious why there didn’t seem to be any research on the topic of whether facial exercises can help us. Finally, a couple of years ago, I was excited to read an article I came across on the internet about it. The research was carried out by a team of researchers from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.  They followed 27 subjects who ranged in age from 40 to 65. For 30 minutes daily, each woman in the study performed 32 facial exercises over a period of 20 weeks. It was the first-ever scientific study to test the premise of facial exercise improving appearance.  The results? Upper cheek and lower cheek fullness, in particular, was significantly enhanced. And, there was a three-year decrease in age appearance.

Why Do These Exercises Work?

So, here’s why these exercises work. As our face ages, our skin loses elasticity and the fat pads between the muscle and skin become thinner. The fat pads, which fit together like a jigsaw puzzle, give the face much of its shape. As skin becomes saggy, the thinning fat pads atrophy and slide, causing the face to “fall down.” But if the muscle underneath becomes bigger, the skin has more “stuffing” underneath it and the firmer muscle appears to make the shape of the face fuller. So in summary, muscle growth increases the facial volume which counteracts the effects of age-related fat thinning and skin loosening.

The Challenge!

The facial exercises used in the research were developed and provided by Gary Sikorski of Happy Face Yoga. But since these specific exercises aren’t easily available, I’ve pulled together 9 exercises from facial yoga expert Danielle Collins which I thought might work well for us. And, I’m hoping some of you might be interested in joining me for a face exercise Ten Week Challenge. The Challenge would involve doing these 9 exercises daily for 10 weeks to determine if we can see an improvement in how firm and toned our face and neck look. We would take front and side photos of our face and neck both before and after the 10 week period to check on the results.

The research study went on for 20 weeks and the subjects did thirty-two exercises, so we’re obviously not going to see the kind of results they did. But it would be very interesting to find out if we can see any improvements over a 10 week period. Personally, I would certainly welcome any improvement!

It’s Easier Than You Think

Now doing nine face exercises may sound like a lot, but once you get familiar with them and can do them automatically without thinking about them, it really doesn’t take that much time to do them. As you might imagine, setting aside a particular time to do them each day can be particularly helpful in turning this practice into a habit. I plan to do them when I’m watching TV at night. Now, one very important caveat which I need to say is if you have any head or neck issues, do not do these exercises. And, of course, always check with a health professional before doing any type of exercise program.

These exercises combine massage, acupressure, and relaxation which help improve collagen and elastin as well as circulation. And increasing our circulation also gives a nice glow to the skin… which is an added benefit. Here are the exercises:

The Face Exercises

Exercise Number 1 is called “The V.”  It helps reduce and prevent lines under our eyes and on the outer area of our eyes. First, put your two middle fingers between your eyes.  Second, put your index fingers on the outer area of your eyes. Next, look up to the ceiling and squint upward with your lower eyelids. You want to feel a shake or pulse on the outer area of the eye. Then relax back down and repeat. Unfortunately, Danielle doesn’t say how many of these to do, but let’s plan on doing 20.

Exercise Number 2 is called “The Smile Smoother.”  It helps reduce and prevent lines between our nose and lips and lifts the cheeks, chin, and neck. First, pull the top and bottom lips away from each other, hiding your teeth. Then go from an “O” shape to a smile shape. You would do this 20 times. Then, hold the smile shape—still with the teeth hidden—and place your index finger on your chin. Then, raise your head and scoot your jaw backward. Go back as far as possible and then back down 10 times.

Exercise Number 3 is a relaxing one called “Smooth the Brow.” It releases tension in the forehead and increases collagen and elastin which are natural plumping agents in the skin. All you need to do is place your index fingers on the center of your forehead area. Then, sweep your fingers horizontally across your forehead and lift them up when you get to your hairline. Do this gently so you’re not dragging across the skin. And do it 10 times.

Exercise Number 4 is called “Flirty Eyes.” It lifts and tones the upper eyelid area, strengthens and tones the lower part of your face, and reduces and prevents lines and hollows under the eyes. First, place your index fingers horizontally on either side of your nose below your eyes. Next, pull your top and bottom lip away from each other, hiding your teeth. Look up toward the ceiling and flutter your eyelids as much as possible for 30 seconds. Do this 5 times.

Exercise Number 5 is called “The Giraffe.” It lifts and tones the major muscle at the front of the neck and tones the area underneath the jaw. First, place your fingers near the top of your neck and lift your head. Stroke your neck from under the chin down to the collarbone. Do this 10 times. Then, keep your fingers at your collarbone and stick your bottom lip out as much as possible. Hold it out for 30 seconds and feel the muscle strengthening and toning. Do this 5 times.

Exercise Number 6 involves work with three different acupressure points. This first one increases the circulation which improves skin tone. It’s also great to use when you’re feeling stressed and it can help you sleep better. First, place your index fingers between your eyebrows. You can close your eyes if you like, but you don’t have to.  Breathe deeply through your nose. Circle in one direction five times and then in the other direction 5 times.

The second acupressure part of this sixth exercise helps lift and tone your jaw area. Take two fingers and your thumb and pinch and release all the way up your jawline. Do this 5 times.

The third acupressure part of this sixth exercise is good for increasing the circulation in your face and has been used for years in traditional East Indian Medicine. First, take your index finger and your thumb of both hands. Then, pull your earlobe three times going downward. Do this same movement three times at the middle of your ears (pulling horizontally) and three more times at the top of your ears (pulling upward).

Exercises Number 7, 8, and 9, our final three exercises, tone our neck area. Do each one of these exercises for one minute a day.

Exercise Number 7, gently tilt your neck back. Place your hand under your jawline and silently say the word “yum” repeatedly for 60 seconds.

Exercise Number 8: Make a fist and put it under your chin. Then open and close your mouth. But be sure to push your fist upward slightly so you feel some resistance. Do this for 60 seconds.

Exercise Number 9: Tilt your head back and keep your lips together. Move the tip of your tongue up and down to the roof of your mouth. Do this 20 times, relax, and then do 3 more sets of 20 for a total of 60 times.

Have you ever tried face exercises? Or, do you want to participate in the face exercise challenge? Let us know in the comments at the bottom of this page! 

 

Elise Marquam-Jahns is a professional, working makeup-artist who is passionate about helping women 50+ get their glow back.  In addition to her work as a makeup artist for a major cosmetics line, she founded Boomer and Beyond Beauty and recently launched her “Boomer and Beyond Beauty with Elise” YouTube channel for women 50+.  Elise is also an author and speaker and hosts Normandale Community College’s monthly Learning Well Edge Talk Radio show where she interviews experts in the field of health and wellness. 

 

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