But what about the face? No one ever talks about exercising it. As we age, the skin of our face sags and wrinkles. The only options we think of to fix them, are Botox, which is injecting poison into the face, and surgery. For the record, I don’t recommend either option. So what’s the alternative?
Exercising the muscles of the body tones the body, so it follows that exercising the muscles in the face will tone the face. Your body has 26 facial muscles that attach differently than the others. Skeletal muscles in the body are attached, at both ends, to bones. When they’re extended and flexed, they move body parts, like an arm or leg.
Some facial muscles attach to bone, but some attach to other muscles and others attach to skin. When they’re extended and flexed, they change the expression on the face. The tone of the muscles underneath the skin, determine if the skin looks flabby or firm.
It’s true that wrinkles can be caused by a number of things: UV light, smoking, poor nutrition, and decreased production of natural oils. Lotions and creams can be very helpful for bringing moisture back. The idea of not smiling because it, too, causes wrinkles, is silly. The function of facial muscles is to create expressions. If you don’t use them, they’ll atrophy, so please keep smiling. As we know, smiling isn’t enough to keep the muscles toned. We need to work the muscles effectively, contracting them fully so every muscle fiber is used. There is a trick to doing this. Focus on the muscle you are working, and gently palpate it (feel with your fingers.) Doing this can increase the amount of work by approximately 30 percent.
Try this: Lift your eyebrows like you’re surprised. Now put your fingers on your forehead and palpate it while focusing on it and lifting your eyebrows higher. Now lift them as high as you can. Notice a difference? You just worked your frontalis muscle. Kiss someone, and you use your obicularis oris, a circular muscle behind your lips. I love saying obicularis oris because you can really work that muscle as you say it!
There’s a video clip on YouTube, probably from the 1960s, where Jack LaLanne discusses face exercises. He said, “When the muscles in the face are not worked, they atrophy and they die, and they wither away, and they stretch out of shape. So instead of having a tight looking, youthful face, your face is all hanging and sagging!” He then teaches face exercises with funny music in the background. It’s quite entertaining!
My mom learned facial exercises decades ago. I remember, as a young girl, her sitting on the couch making all sorts of crazy faces, telling me that I’ll have to do them some day. She’s been after me for years about this, saying that the sooner I start, the better off I’ll be. Until recently, it hasn’t been high on my to-do list. Now that I’ve turned 50, it’s becoming a priority.
I’m quite lucky that my parents are still with me here on earth. My mom is 83 but looks and acts much younger than that. My whole life people have told me how young she looks. She’s told me that people still ask her how she maintains her youthful look. Her answer is always the same: Facial exercises.
Another video clip shows LaLanne at the age of 88 still promoting face exercises. He claimed they’re the reason why people asked him if he’d had a facelift. He said, “You can put all the goop on your face, but it’s got to come from the inside. So why don’t you start doing your face-nastics three to four times a week. Give it a try!"