(NaturalNews) The old adage that it takes more muscle power to frown than to smile may finally be put to rest, at least in terms of how using those muscles affects the aging process. According to Heike Hoefler, a German fitness trainer, actively working facial muscles by smiling helps to reduce wrinkles, lines, and other appearances of aging.
"Active facial gymnastics is super effective," Hoefler is quoted as saying in China Daily. "It can reduce expression lines."
And that is exactly what she helps her class participants achieve. By teaching them how to smile more through the use of various smiling exercises, Hoefler is helping her students to avoid things like "anger lines" between the eyebrows, wrinkles around the mouth, and horizontal forehead lines.
Facial skin is composed of a tapestry of elastic and collagen fibers that bind with water to give it a firm, toned appearance. But as a person ages, these fibers become increasingly less able to bind with water, resulting in sagging skin, wrinkles, and other undesirable appearances.
While there are numerous skin creams available that help to slow this process, Hoefler says it is helpful to practice smiling exercises as well. In the same way that working arms and legs in the weight room tightens and builds muscles, smiling helps to improve firmness in the cheeks, chin, and skin around the eyes.
One exercise Hoefler recommends is holding a strong smile for six seconds, followed by a ten-second break. When performing this exercise, she says it is best to press your thumb and a finger from each hand on the corners of both your eyes and mouth to hold the skin in place. Doing this will prevent wrinkles from forming in those spots as a result of the exercise.
Another useful exercise is pushing air in your mouth from one cheek to the other using your mouth muscles, holding it on each side for a few seconds before switching. And sticking out your tongue, she says, will work your chin muscles and help prevent saggy skin from forming.