You know how much exercise can benefit the strength, power, health and youthful look of your body. But, do you know that exercise specifically designed for your face can help keep your skin healthier as well as keep you looking younger? It’s true and I’d like to show you 5 simple exercises that will help you look more rested and youthful in no time.
Facial Fitness: 5 Exercises That Help You Look Younger and Healthier
Your face is no different than the rest of your body. It too has to fight the pull of gravity, just like the muscles of your body. Your face also responds to strengthening exercises just like your body does. Have you ever noticed how body builders have tighter necklines, firmer, more sculpted faces, less eye bags, sagging and wrinkles? That’s because their facial muscles are constantly being activated during their weight lifting.
If you’ve ever watched a bodybuilder workout, you’ll see them also unconsciously doing isometric “resistance grimacing” of their face as they lift weights. To see this effect for yourself, next time you’re in the gym, stand in front of a mirror, take hold of a fairly heavy weight bar, and lift it a few times. As you do, watch how your facial muscles move and react. You’ll see your neck and jaw muscles tighten, as well as your lower cheeks lift upward. These are isometric movements of flexing and holding and they help strengthen and tighten facial muscles.
Now, you don’t have to be a bodybuilder working out with heavy weights to get the benefit of isometric movement of your facial muscles. You can simply perform specific movements of your face, along with a little acupressure massage, to brighten skin tone, decrease bags, tone your neck and jaw, tighten and lift sagging cheeks, jowls. Here are 5 quick exercises that help…
1. Eye bags: Nothing makes you look more tired and sad than dark circles and puffy eyes. Stand in front of the mirror and place your middle fingertips, of each hand, at the middle of your eye at the junction of your cheek bone and your eye hollow and press lightly. Now, keeping your eyes open, concentrate on lifting the muscle beneath your fingers upward, pressing in a little to increase resistance as you flex and try to lift. In the mirror it should look like your lower lid is trying to close, but the more you keep your eye open, the more resistance you’ll give the muscle. Do a set of 20 of these.
Then, remove your fingertips and place them each at the corners of your eyes and perform the same under eyelift exercise, keeping your eye open. Do a set of 20 as well.
To end your eye bag exercise, take your middle fingertips and place them at the same mid spot beneath your eye, right over the base of the eye “bag” area, pressing lightly. Start to massage in an outward motion. Do this for 5 minutes. This helps to disburse fluid, fat, blood collections under the eye.
A few tips: Watch sodium intake, drink more water, and apply a light film of Vaseline jelly to the bag area before bedtime. This discourages fluids from collecting overnight.
2. Neck and jowl tightener: Stand with your head facing upward, looking at the ceiling. Now, open your mouth slowly as wide as you can comfortably and start to close it, jutting out your chin and lower lip as you do. You should feel this pull all along your neck and lower jaw muscles. This really helps tighten the neck and jawline. Do a series of 20 reps.
3. Cheek/jowl tightener: In front of your mirror place your lips tight together. Now, concentrate on lifting your cheeks up towards your eyes. You should feel this in your cheeks, lips, and your upper neck if you’re flexing correctly. This helps lift the cheek and jowl area and round out that sunken hollow in your cheeks. Do a series of 20 reps.
4. Cheek, jawline, overall face tightener: Open your mouth very wide, you should feel it in the sides of your cheeks. Next, slowly close your mouth, bringing your lips together in a tight kiss formation, flexing the kiss as far upward as you comfortably can. You should feel it in your cheeks and upper neck. Hold this flex to the count of 10. Do a series of 20 reps.
5. Forehead, upper eye, cheek tightener: In front of the mirror, open your eyes as widely as you comfortably can. Next, concentrate on both keeping your eyes open and at the same time closing your upper eyelid. You should see your cheeks lift up toward the lower lid, as well as feel it pull in your temple area. Do a series of 20 reps.
Finishing Massage: After completing these exercises, take the middle fingertips of both hands and place them at the bridge of your nose. Press firmly as you slide your fingertips upward in an “ironing out” fashion. As you do, squint tightly, drawing down your bridge skin onto your fingers as they slide/smooth upward. This helps remove that “stress 11” or “1” between your eyes and gives a much more relaxed and rested look.
These are just a few general facial exercises that can be done to keep your facial skin tighter and more youthful looking. Try to do at least 1 set per day, but you’ll get faster results if you do 2 sets, one in the morning and one at night as you’re getting ready for bed. Also, be sure to get enough sleep, drink enough water, get enough Vitamin C, as all really help maintain tone of your skin.
In addition, getting a professional facial massage once a month, or swap a free one with a friend, also helps maintain tone and perk up skin color and decrease eye bags. You might also want to look into some facial exercise DVDs to learn more exercises, or facial acupressure massage, to build even greater facial fitness and a healthier, more youthful look.
Jay Brachfeld, M.D.