“Exercise has really quite an important link to ageing. If you are performing a lot of cardiovascular exercise, then, for example, Triathlons, Marathon running, first, you are going to be burning a lot of calories. There seems to be a switch, that from the age of about 35-40 onwards, you tend to lose facial volume, as a consequence of doing this type of cardiovascular exercise. When you are younger, you seem to lose weight from the body, but the face maintains its fat compartments. High impact sports like marathon running, road running, have a secondary effect, which is that, there are ligaments within the cheek, that keep it in place. So, underneath the skin, we don’t just have a sea of fat, we have fibrous areas that are almost like Velcro, that keep the cheek in place, that keep the sides of the mouth in place; and if you are pounding the roads, those ligaments get stretched and as a consequence, actually you have more sagging of the face on top of the volume loss” The facial structure has bones a bit like a brick wall. In fact, what happens in the body, is that every organ and every tissue is in a state of being built and being broken down at the same time. So even something that looks as solid as bones, actually has cells that are destroying the bone, and then putting down new bone, almost at the same time.” Rajiv Grover, Consultant Plastic Surgeon.
Long distance running and endurance exercise can age your face prematurely. High-intensity internal training (HIIT) on the other hand, is better, as it releases growth hormones and helps with anti-ageing.
One Marathon Runner stated, “Marathon Runners DO have a gaunter look about their face and since I’ve taken up the long-distance running, people did start to mention that my face did look more gaunt and slimmer in the cheeks, not necessarily a compliment!”
As we age, the 14 bones in our face change both their shape and their volume. Eye sockets become wider and longer. In the mid face, the angles of the brow, nose and upper jaw bones all reduce. Teeth move around and sometimes fall out completely. With less bone to stretch across, skin becomes saggy and loose, the face becomes bottom-heavy. While the rate our bones changes is determined by genetics, our life choices in our latter years can still affect how old we look.