Facial Fitness

Exercises to Tone Your Face and Neck

Gravity takes its toll as years pass, and many women find themselves bemoaning crow’s feet, frown lines and turkey necks that make them look older than they feel. Experts point to the loss of “fat pads” in the cheeks, bone loss around the eye sockets and cheekbones and overall weak muscles as potential contributors to facial aging. Natural exercise programs designed to reverse these unpleasant signs of aging comprise a new fitness-for-beauty trend.

“Face and neck muscles somehow have been left out of mainstream fitness programs,” observes Denver esthetician and massage therapist Grace Mosgeller, who addresses this void with her series of eight FaceFitnez audio and video exercises. “If you tone the muscles of your face and neck, the skin attached to those muscles firms and tones as well, creating a natural youthful look.”

Muscular stress—the good kind—is at the core of facial fitness, says Mosgeller. She cite’s Wolff’s Law, a wellknown medical theory that bone grows and remodels in response to the tension or muscle engagement put on it. “Regular facial exercise works the muscles to correct the loss of both muscle tone and bone density and build collagen. It might be called the equivalent of pushups, pull-ups and abdominal tucks for the face.”

Carolyn Cleaves, owner of Carolyn’s Facial Fitness, in Seabeck, Washington, near Seattle, a former college professor, developed a facial exercise program for herself upon detecting early signs of aging. With the help of two primary care physicians, she designed a routine that includes 28 basic exercises that target all 57 facial muscles. “As we get older, we lose the underlying layer of fat just beneath the skin, and as a result, we look old and tired,” says Cleaves. She agrees that exercising the face actually helps rebuild lost bone, enlarges the muscles and also builds collagen. A study from the University of Rochester, in New York, confirms that loss of bone mass can start in women as early as age 40. It starts in men 16 to 25 years later.

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