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A Facial Workout

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Aerobics, weight training and stretching are not for our bodies alone

Aerobics, weight training and stretching are not for our bodies alone. Through a series of contracting and relaxing muscles on our necks and faces we can boost circulation, improve muscle tone and release excess tension. Try the following exercises to tighten facial muscles and look your relaxed, fit and glowing best.

'Eyes-Wide-Open' Aerobics

Raise your upper lids and eyebrows to open your eyes as wide as possible at a rate of once a second. Repeat 10 to 20 times.

Neck Aerobics

Cock your head up by 45 degrees and open your mouth slightly. Rest your thumb and forefinger one on either side of your neck, in the angle between the neck and lower jaw, and beneath the middle of each side of the lower jaw. Tense the underlying muscles while slightly raising and protruding the jaw. Repeat 15 to 20 times.

Cheek 'Weight Training'

Sit at a table or desk, or stand by the kitchen work-surface. Put your elbows on the surface and cup your head with your hands so the fleshy parts of your cheeks rest on the 'heels' of your hands, your fingers on your temples and, most important, let your hands take the weight of your head. If this doesn't happen, adjust your position, perhaps by raising the height of your chair with a cushion. Smile and feel your cheek muscles tighten against the heels of your hands; if you can't feel this, adjust the position of your hands. Repeat 20 times.

Mouth 'Weight Training'

Open your mouth into an 'O'. Rest the tips of your thumb and forefinger inside your top and bottom lips, with their pads a centimetre apart. Try for 10 to 15 seconds to force your thumb and finger together with your lips, but prevent this with the strength of your thumb and finger. Repeat once or twice. Do the exercise again with the tips of your thumb and forefinger inside the corners of your lips instead.

Rubber-Mouth Stretches

Open your mouth as wide as comfortably possible. Then make a variety of 'rubber mouth' expressions by moving your open mouth into different shapes. Continue for 15 to 30 seconds.

Upper-Eyelid 'Weight Training'

Look down behind closed eyes. Put a fingertip in the centre of each upper eyelid, just above the lashes. Repeatedly try to open your eyes, keeping the lids closed with your fingertips. Continue for five seconds. Repeat five to 10 times.

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