Facial Exercises for Anti-Aging

Changes in how we look occur naturally as part of the aging process, but fortunately, not all is lost in this battle! As is the case with many things, we do have some control over this process. Facial muscle exercises are not at all dissimilar to resistance exercise elsewhere in the body. As little as 30 minutes a day of focused facial muscle exercises can maintain tone in the facial muscles and help us to look and feel younger.

In a proof of concept study, researchers at Northwestern University found that by spending 30 minutes a day exercising the muscles of the face, participants were able to tighten and lift the cheeks to appear younger. The participants practiced 32 different facial expressions which they generally held for one minute each.

One exercise, “The Cheek Lifter,” consists of working the cheek muscles. The steps are as follows: Open your mouth and form an O; with your lips over your teeth, smile to lift your cheeks; place your fingertips lightly on the top part of the cheek so you can feel them lifting; and repeat the up and down motion for one minute.

The changes in the study participants were blind-assessed by dermatologists by looking at their before and after photos. Doctors used a standardized facial aging scale and rated 19 features at the beginning, middle, and end of the study. At the start of the study, the dermatologists rated the patients to be 50.8 years on average; because of the exercises, that dropped to 48.1 over the course of the study.

It’s important to realize that chronological age is not the only factor involved. Stress, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and a sedentary lifestyle can accelerate the effects of aging and make individuals appear older

To learn more about this and other relevant topics, consider taking HSC 316: Mind, Body, and Health. The course is interesting, informative, and introspective and shows us that taking an active role in monitoring risks to our health can really pay off.