It's no secret that cardio, stretching and strength training can help us have toned, fit and supple bodies. But, few people stop to think about how the muscles in our faces play a part in the way that we look.
Researchers have been asking questions about whether facial muscle exercises - what some are now calling "face yoga" - can help fight signs of aging, and they have had some exciting results. In a recent study, they found that participants who put aside time every other day for a facial workout routine had firmer skin, as well as fuller upper and lower cheeks.
Curious what moves work best? Add these to your routine for youth-enhancing results. For best results, do these exercises in front of the mirror so you can be sure you are doing each move correctly, at least at first. After awhile, you should be able to do these exercises wherever you are.
Lift Your Brows
As we get older, our eyebrows naturally droop. We also can develop lines between our eyes and wrinkles in our upper lids. This exercise strengthens key muscles to give you a natural lift.
Start by placing three fingertips of each hand under your eyebrows so that your eyes are pushed wide open. Then, smile while trying to pull your eyebrows down against your fingertips. Breathe deeply and hold. Then, close your eyelids tight while you roll your eyes like you are looking up.
Hold this for 20 seconds. Repeat three times.
Smooth Your Smile
Image credit: telegraph.co.uk
Start by making an "O" shape with your mouth. Then, pull your lips back into a smile while keeping your teeth hidden. Repeat this move six times.
After that, hold the smile pose while placing your index finger against your chin. Move your jaw up and down and let your head tilt back. Relax, then repeat the move two more times.
This is a great exercises for smoothing cheek lines and plumping sagging skin.
Relax Your Forehead
Your forehead is one of the places where lines and wrinkles show up first. This exercise can help you smooth out those creases naturally. Think of it like Botox...without the painful needles, risk of droopy eye or long term muscle atrophy.
Start by placing both hands against your forehead with your fingers facing each other. Spread your hands so your fingers go from your brows up to your hairline.
Gently move our fingers out from the middle to the edges of your forehead. Apply light pressure as you go. The effect is similar to a massage, helping the muscles there relax and smooth.
Repeat this exercise 10 times during each session. This is also a great move for tension headaches and stress!
Lose That Double Chin
Do this simple routine in only a few minutes a day to make that double chin disappear. We love it because its easy, quick and super relaxing.
Step 1: Start the double chin exercise by warming up. Turn your neck to your right and then back to the center.
Step 2: Then turn your neck to the left and back to the center. Repeat this about 2-3 times.
Step 3: Now gently tuck your chin and move it to the right. Similarly tuck your chin and then move it to the left side making a semi-circle. Do this 2-3 times.
Step 4: Now lift your chin slowly towards the ceiling. Start moving your lower jaw up and down for a few seconds. By doing this, you will be able to feel the contractions of your vocal muscles.
Step 5: Then keeping your chin in a raised position itself, slowly open your mouth and close it. Do 10 reps of this double chin exercise and then relax.
Step 6: Raise your chin upwards to the right side and start jutting the chin for a few seconds.
Step 7: Hold the position there and begin to open and close your mouth. Do this for 10 repetitions and come back to the center and relax.
Step 8: Similarly turn your chin upwards to left side. Jut your chin for a few seconds and hold the position. Start opening and closing your mouth for about 10 repetitions and then come to the center and relax. With this we come to the end of the double chin exercises.
In the study, participants began seeing results after a few weeks, but continued doing the exercises either every day or every other day for 20 weeks.
“Just as your body needs regular exercise to stay toned and firm, the 57 muscles in the face and neck also need to be exercised,” explains Danielle Collins, the Face Yoga Expert. “As they become stronger they are lifted and firmed and the skin attached to the muscles is tautened, reducing lines and wrinkles.” Add in facial massage moves to increase circulation, lymph flow and remove toxins, improving skin tone, reducing puffiness and dark circles.
By taking some time each day to do these moves, you can gradually build facial muscle strength, just as you can for any other muscle you decide to work. Taking time regularly for this sort of exercise can be a rewarding part of your self-care routine and can allow you to feel more confident with or without make-up every day.