The Weigh It Is: Exercises provide natural facelift
Pamela Greene is a fitness programmer with Fort Jackson's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- We take time and pride in working out our bodies; but we often forget a part of our body that is always exposed - our face.

Makeup cannot take the place of toned skin that is vibrant and glows with health. I am sure this is one reason why the makeup advertisers use words like "vibrant"and "glow." Vibrant, youthful, toned - who doesn't want that'

The problem is makeup, even at its best, is just a cover-up.

Now, I am not knocking makeup and this is not about cosmetics or cosmetic surgery; I'm just sending a reminder to the dedicated (and not so dedicated) exerciser that vibrant, youthful, toned skin can be achieved through exercises that are painless on your face and your wallet.

One great plus to facial exercising is that the results are pretty rapid. That's a motivator in a society that craves instant gratification.

Of course, I am not promising overnight success, but in as little as a few weeks you will begin to notice things about your face. It will have a healthier glow because the exercises deliver oxygen and blood flow. Receiving more blood and oxygen, the skin can begin to produce more skin cells and help reverse aging effects.

One of the reasons why the face ages is that unlike the skeletal muscles of the body, the facial muscles are directly attached to the skin that covers them. When these facial muscles start to lose their tone and elasticity because of age and gravity, the skin that is attached to them starts to sag (depressing isn't it).

There is an upside to this insight: because the muscle is directly attached to the skin, the moment you begin working and pumping up the muscles your skin is instantly affected. Another great thing about face exercising is that because the muscles on the face are so small, it doesn't take a lot of effort to pump them up.

It does and will take commitment and consistency. You can't do this for a month (or less) and expect overnight "face sensation." You will get results, but like any other workout routine, you get out of it what you put into it.

Here are five exercises to get you started on your facial routine. I recommend you do each exercise 50 times. I know that seems like a lot, but really it's not. Just take some of your "Maybelline time" and use it to work out your face in the mornings.

EXERCISE 1
Standing in front of a mirror with eyes wide, wink and hold one eye for about 1 second. Do 50 of these, then repeat using the other eye.

EXERCISE 2
Standing in front of a mirror with eyes wide, look up by using your lower eyelids. It might feel a little like squinting, but you are not squinting. Your cheeks should not be helping you make this movement. If done correctly, you will feel the muscle directly under the eye lifting. This is tricky, but once you get it, you will never want to go without this under eye toner. This will help lift the eyelid, reduce puffiness, and reduce bags under the eyes.

EXERCISE 3
Standing in front of a mirror with eyes wide open, place three fingers on each temple and apply a slight pressure to the temples pulling the fingers upward; next close the eyes about one second and release. It feels like you are squinting with resistance from the hands on your temples. Repeat 50 times. This exercise gets rid of bagginess around the lower eyelids and the hooded eyelids, too.

EXERCISE 4
Standing in front of a mirror; smile. Keep holding your smile while you try to drop the corners of your mouth down and up. This takes practice and patience. Repeat this corner drop and lift 50 times. This will lift the corners of the mouth, which typically sag and droop.

EXERCISE 5
Standing in front of a mirror, open your mouth about a quarter to three-eights of an inch and put your index fingers on the inside of each inner jaw right where the corners of your mouth are (trust me). Holding your mouth open, but not pulling it, try to squeeze the sides of your mouth together and release. Repeat 50 times. This will lift the cheekbone, plump up the lips and help in lifting the corners of the mouth up.

The five exercises will give you a natural, noninvasive program for rebuilding and maintaining tone in all the facial muscle groups. Begin today and add this uplifting approach to your workout.

Page last updated Wed October 6th, 2010 at 16:11