Any muscle can be worked including the muscles of the face and neck. A complex network of muscles and tendons connects the face and neck. The extensive muscle structure of the face enables facial expressions by muscular contractions. Many of these movements, if done against light resistance, help tone the muscles and reduce sagging of the face and neck. Isometric exercises combined with yoga comprise most of the facial-firming exercises.
Gravity and lack of use are the reasons muscle sag. The face-lift exercise was designed by the California Dental Specialty Group to help keep the facial muscles toned. The quadratus labli (a sheet of muscle from the side of the nose to the upper lip) is the area this exercise focuses on for toning and strengthening the muscles.
There are two steps to the exercise. First, open the mouth slightly while flaring the nostrils, wrinkle the nose and draw the upper lip as high as possible. Hold for 5 seconds, relax and then repeat. The second step is done with pressure from the index fingers placed on the top part of the cheeks just under the eyes. Open the mouth slightly, curl the upper lip holding for 10 seconds and then relax.
Smiling not only makes you feel good, but it is also a good exercise to tone the face. The Hawaii Family Dental Center in Honolulu recommends smiling to strengthen facial muscles.
This yoga exercise tones the neck and throat as well as firming the cheeks. Open the mouth into an O shape and using the tongue, trace the area of the lips. Keep the forehead and brow smooth, the lower jaw relaxed and trace the lips in both directions. Repeat for 5 times.
This exercise is from Annelise Hagen, author of “The Yoga Face,” who teaches facial yoga in New York City.
Yoga Throat Exercise
This is another yoga exercise aimed at keeping the neck from sagging. Stick out the tongue and say ahhhhh. Now, hold the tongue out while keeping the rest of the face relaxed and hold for 60 seconds. The eyes may water, but that is OK. This is harder than it sounds.
Lower Eyelid Strengthener
The orbicularis oculi muscle is firmed with this exercise. This area is just under the eyes in the area that forms the hollows. This exercise will reduce puffiness and diminish hollows by firming the lower eyelid.
Place the index fingers at the inner corners of the eyes and the middle fingers at the outer corners and apply light pressure. Roll the eyes up and squint with the lower eye while lightly holding the corners of the eyes. Tighten and release for 10 repetitions. On the last one, hold for 40 seconds.
This is an exercise from Carole Maggio, author of “Facercise.”
About this Author
Caroline Thompson has been a professional photojournalist since 1999. She combines writing and photography in her stories. Thompson’s work has appeared in the “Sacramento Bee,” “People Magazine,” “Newsweek” and other publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in photojournalism from California State University Hayward (CSUH) and a personal trainer certification from the Health and Fitness Institute out of CSUH.