Exercise any muscle and it will respond by firming and toning. A leg muscle responds to exercise the same way a facial muscle responds to exercise. Facial muscles can benefit from toning exercises. Facial exercises can be performed in the morning and evening as part of your regular routine. These exercises also increase circulation and blood flow to the face, which results in a healthy, rosy glow.
The area around the mouth loses tone, causing sagging around the jowls. The corners of the mouth over time tend to droop downwards. The California Dental Specialty Group has created a facial exercise to help reinforce facial movement and muscle tone. This is a smiling exercise. It will firm and tone the area around the mouth and give you greater control over your smile.
This exercise should be done in front of a mirror. Start by relaxing the facial muscles. Slowly smile by stretching the corners of the mouth laterally. Keep the lips together and hold for 10 seconds. Next, smile wider exposing the edges of the teeth, hold for 10 seconds. Smile wider, increasing muscle tension and exposing the upper teeth. Make sure to keep the eye area relaxed. Hold for 10 seconds. Finally, smile as wide as possible using lateral tension and exposing all of the upper teeth without showing the gums. You should feel a slight burning in the cheek muscles at this point. Hold for 10 seconds and relax.
The second half of this exercise uses the index fingers for gentle resistance. Smile wide and place the index fingers at the corners of the mouth. Start relaxing your smile, but keep resistance on the corners of the mouth and hold for 10 seconds. Try to close your mouth while keeping resistance, hold for 10 seconds and relax. Repeat this exercise 5 times.
The delicate skin around the eyes can start to lose tone, causing drooping eyelids and sagging around the corners of the eyes. To tighten the eye area, try this yoga exercise from Annelise Hagen, author of “The Yoga Face,” who teaches facial yoga in New York City.
Sit with your back straight and smile. Place your index fingers on the corners of the eyes where crow’s feet form. Next, keeping resistance with your fingers, pulse your lower lids against the resistance. Do this by contracting the muscle in the lower lid, trying to close the eye. Move the lower lid up as far as possible without actually closing the eye, relax and repeat. Do not move any other facial muscle. Do 3 sets of 20 repetitions.
Jaw and Neck Area
Do the following exercise to firm the neck and jaw area. This exercise, which was developed by Jack Lalanne, can be done while sitting at a desk. Sit with the spine erect and the face relaxed. Tilt the head back and look at the ceiling. Start moving your jaw up and down in chewing motions. Continue this for 20 seconds and then relax. Do this several times during the day and you will notice the muscles just under the chin, sternohyoid, and the jaw muscles, or masseter, toning and firming.