Fitness After 50: Facial exercises for a free facelift
By Vicki Morgan
Squinting, blinking, making faces, rolling eyes and sticking out the tongue. Standard operating procedure for a young brat.
Who would have imagined that these foolhardy things we used to do as kids would resurface as the latest fad — facial yoga?
Actually, it’s not new at all. For generations, men and women from Asia have passed down the practice of facial exercises for fitness, peace of mind and beauty. Cleopatra and other well-known beauties were thought to have practiced facial exercise.
Following suit are celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon, Madonna and Jennifer Aniston.
It only stands to reason that if exercising your body increases blood flow, tones muscles, improves skin condition and relieves stress, so does exercising your face.
Face yoga is generally given two thumbs up by doctors, because it’s a non-invasive method of smoothing out lines and wrinkles. No drugs, no injections, no recovery time. No Botox, no surgery and, best of all, no cost. It just takes dedication and patience, just like anything else that’s worthwhile.
So how does it work? When you stimulate the muscles of the face by forcing specific motions, the three layers of skin — namely the hypodermis, the dermis and the epidermis — respond. It’s like training any muscle. Collagen and elastin production is stimulated. The Central Nervous System receives messages of new use and movement. When you work all the layers correctly, you increase the blood circulation, which allows more oxygen and nutrients to reach your skin’s cells.
Remember, your skin is the largest organ of the body. Slathering it with expensive moisturizer is just a small part of how you should maintain your face. If you stick with it, you’ll end up with visible results – a healthier complexion and skin which holds moisture more ably.
It’s never too late to start. What’s true for the muscles in your body is equally true for your face. You’ll need to make a habit of it, however. An effective routine is 20 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week.
Facial yoga experts report noticeable, long-term results in those who stick with it for two weeks or more. And it only gets better. After a few months, people usually start to notice other benefits such as reduced tension and better facial hydration. Hey … there’s certainly no harm in trying, and it’s better than a kick in the head (as the saying goes).
I personally don’t teach facial exercise, but former college teacher Fumiko Takatsu does. When she was 36, she got into a terrible car accident. She developed a fear of aging and lost all self-confidence.
To help herself recover from what essentially was PTSD, Fumiko created her own brand of face yoga. Fumiko claims to be the first person to advocate facial yoga in Japan, and has practiced yoga for over 30 years. You can find her at faceyogamethod.com.
Vicki Morgan A.C.E. is a Senior Strength & Fitness Trainer at Flex Gym and Fitness. You can reach her at seniorstrength.pro. Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. If you experience pain or difficulty, stop and consult your healthcare provider. This article is not meant to take the place of any treatment or activity your physician has deemed necessary.