By Alexis Wolfer

We all spend countless hours in the gym sweating it out for a strong physique (or stressing about the lack of hours spent!). But, at the end of the day, it’s our faces that make our first impressions, not our toned thighs or firm abs. Yet few of us spend time exercising the muscles of our faces, the muscles that actually play a pivotal role in the development and appearance of wrinkles and sagging skin.

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According to top NYC-based orthodontist Dr. Jacqueline Fulop Goodling, strengthening and relaxing your facial muscles with a few simple exercises can result in some serious anti-aging benefits! As Dr. Fulop Goodling explains, “Whatever you call it – Facercise® or Yoga for the Face – it’s very important to engage the muscles of your face in order to keep them looking young and healthy. Often the first time my patients experience it is with their orthodontic treatment, but I always encourage them to adopt it as part of their daily beauty routine and keep it up.”

3 Anti-Aging Facial Exercises:

Wag the tongue. Open your mouth as wide as you comfortably can and release your tongue. Hold this pose for 60 seconds. This exercise works the muscles on either side of the mouth as well as those in the neck and chin. Wave goodbye to saggy skin beneath the chin and jowls.

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Hello, Dolly. Back in the heyday of jazz, most people could easily identify the sounds of their favorite horns and musicians like Louis Armstrong and John Coltrane were fan favorites. Today Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber have claimed the spotlight but the memory of jazz’s golden days remains strong when it comes to working those facial muscles: mimic the inflated cheeks of a trumpet player to engage a series of face muscles. By imagining yourself a trumpet player, you are stretching the group of muscles that extend from your cheekbones all the way down to your neck.

Queen of the Jungle. Stress can affect more than just your mood: every scowl, frown and pout leaves a permanent mark on your mug. Unfortunately it’s impossible to extract stress completely from our lives but thanks to this exercise, the signs of aging that result from these expressions is one less thing you have to stress out about. Reassert your place as the master of your own destiny (or at the very least, the owner of a relaxed looking visage) by inhaling through your nose, making fists and squeezing every muscle on your face possible. This “pose” is an excellent way to improve circulation in the face, as well as to release tension that settles in around the jaw, the eyes, and anywhere else.

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