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Issue 106: Face Aerobics

Smile; it increases your face value.

You may have heard that saying as well as the old adage that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. According to Heike Hoefler, a German fitness trainer, you may want to make a habit out of smiling because working your facial muscles by smiling helps to reduce wrinkles, lines and other appearances of aging.

Hoefler says it this way, “Active facial gymnastics is super effective. It can reduce expression lines.”

Hoefler believes in facial gymnastics so much that she actually teaches a class on how to smile more through the use of a variety of smiling exercises. By working with her students, she is helping them avoid future “anger lines” between the eyebrows, saggy wrinkles around the mouth, and “think lines”—otherwise known as horizontal forehead lines.

Her rationale is that, just as muscles in the arms and legs need to have a workout to remain toned and tightened, smiling serves as a workout for firming your cheeks, chin, skin around the eyes and other facial skin. 

Toned skin is very important when it comes to wrinkles and other appearances of aging. Here’s why: The skin is made up of elastic and collagen fibers that bind with water, giving it a firm and toned appearance. When the ravages of the aging process happen, however, these fibers become increasingly less able to bind with water. The result? Sagging skin, wrinkles, and other indicators that we’re not as young as we once were.

Admittedly, diet, sleep, stress, hydration and skin hygiene come into play with the overall condition of one’s skin, too, but it makes sense to also add some exercise to your skin regimen. Here are a few of Hoefler’s exercises:

First, hold a strong smile for about six seconds, followed by a ten-second break from smiling. (Just let your face relax. No frowning!) To boost the effects of this exercise, Hoefler suggests that you press your thumb and a finger from each hand on the corners of both your eyes and mouth to hold the skin in place as you smile. She says that if you do this, then it will prevent wrinkles from forming in those spots.

Here’s another one: Hoefler says to push air in your mouth from one cheek to the other using your mouth muscles. You can repeat this several times a day, if you want.

You can have a little fun with this next one. Sticking out your tongue, says Hoefler, will work your chin muscles to prevent a saggy “turkey” neck. (You can wait and do this one in the privacy of your own home or in front of those you really don’t care to impress!)

And remember…a smile is an inexpensive way to change your looks for the better. 


This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.

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