With 43 muscles in the human face, it seems like there should be more emphasis on exercising such a large and complex group. However, dedicated facial exercise is not often incorporated into a healthy routine, and that’s too bad because the benefits are numerous.
Any type of exercise is good for you, even ones you can do sitting down such as facial exercises. These exercises will help to tone, strengthen, and tighten the muscles of the face which in turn will lead to less tension, more definition, and better circulation.
Try the following seven exercises and see how they can make a difference.
Stretch the Jaw and Tongue
To begin, try this sequence: inhale deeply, slightly lift your chin, open your mouth as wide as you can, stick out your tongue, and exhale forcefully. If you have ever taken a yoga class, you may have heard this sequence referred to as “lion’s breath.” Think of a lion baring its teeth and tongue as it yawns.
Repeat this sequence 10 times, resting for about 2 to 3 seconds between each repetition. This is a good warm up for any facial workout as it includes plenty of stretching and big movements.
Lower Jaw Forward Thrust
Keeping your head level, slowly thrust your lower jaw forward, pushing your lower teeth past your upper teeth. Once you are at your full extension, curl your lips in over your upper and lower teeth. Hold the position for two seconds, before relaxing back into a natural and neutral position.
Repeat this sequence 10 times. Note: if you have jaw pain, start out slowly with this exercise and stop if anything feels uncomfortable.
This one is pretty easy. Simply raise both eyebrows as high as you can, and hold them in the raised position for a slow count to four. Gently relax back down to a neutral position, and then repeat.
Perform this sequence 10 times. If you feel that too much tension is building up in your forehead, reduce the amount of time you hold your eyebrows in the raised position to three or two seconds.
Smile With Resistance
Smiling is a great form of facial exercise, and most people get to work their faces out in this way every day. However, you can add a little bit of a challenge for some extra muscular benefit.
Take your pointer, middle, and ring fingers of both hands, and place them firmly on the apples of your cheeks. Now push down against your muscles, as you smile broadly. You should feel a fair amount of resistance at the corners of your mouth, and in your cheeks. Repeat the sequence 10 times, and hold each smile for three seconds before returning to a neutral position.
The “Ah – Oh”
This exercise begins the same way as the first one on our list. Begin by slightly tilting your chin up and opening your mouth as wide as you can. Visualize yourself saying “ah.” Then, keeping your jaws wide apart, move your lips inward, wrapping them around your teeth as though you were making the sound “oh.” Return to a neutral position.
Repeat the sequence 10 times, resting for 2 to 3 seconds between each repetition.
Smile Without Teeth
This is another smiling exercise, only this time, the object is to keep your teeth concealed. Begin by smiling broadly, and then use your muscles to pull your lips over your teeth so that they are no longer visible. Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds.
Repeat the sequence 10 times, resting for a few seconds between each repetition.
For this exercise, begin by tilting your face all the way up so that you are looking at the ceiling. Then, open your mouth as wide as you can and stick out your tongue. This exercise helps to stretch out not only your facial muscles, but also your neck.
Return to a neutral position between each repetition, and repeat the sequence 10 times.
One of the best things about facial exercises is that they can be done anytime, and wherever you are with little to no preparation or fanfare. Incorporating facial exercise into your health routine can help provide you with a more youthful appearance, and a more toned and well-defined face.