Nearly everyone can remember a dear aunt who’d do ridiculous things in the quest for youth. Holding an orange under her chin and squeezing it downward, for example… claiming she could exercise away wrinkles . Was she nuts? Or was there some method to her madness?
Loss of tone and tautness are a natural part of aging. Part of this is a gradual loss of collagen and elastin – two biochemicals that give healthy young skin its plump appearance. Other wrinkles are caused by overuse of certain muscles, typically the micro-muscles in our faces we use for expressions. Over time, and repeated use, skin in these areas develop creases from making the same expression. Eyebrow furrows, crows’ feet, smile/laugh lines and lines on the forehead are all common examples of this kind of wrinkling. There is, however, something behind Aunt Mildred’s crazy neck exercises. Not exactly wrinkles, but noticeable slackening of skin happens in older age as muscles and connective tissue become less toned than they once were. Most often this happens in the neck, backs of arms, and the chest. Other “problem” areas that routinely suffer from this kind of aging are those spots where significant weight loss has occurred.
There’s hope however – to exercise away wrinkles in the form of everyday attention to fitness and toning these muscles. For the neck, try neck sit-ups… lay on your bed with your shoulders at the edge and your head hanging off the side. Relax your head all the way back and then pull your chin up towards your chest. Repeat 3-5 times daily. Arms and chest respond well to routine tricep work at the gym as well as tricep- and chest-engaging static poses in yoga. Although you can try the orange trick if you want to, it’s probably not any more effective than neck-ups… turns out your aunt was a little weird