Click to listen to the audio…
Lip training is mandatory for better body chemistry
We’ve all heard the advice
USE IT, OR LOSE IT
This sound bite, takes on a new dimension, as we age….
The ability to get back what is lost, is challenging, if not impossible. And, biology conspires to speed up the losses.
We call the condition sarcopenia i.e. flesh poverty.
A pound of flesh
Most of the time…………… when we think of flesh, we think of the “body”. The muscles that make up our trunk and torso.
But, these are not the only muscles, being eroded.
Lip muscles take strain too.
Orbicularis oris I don’t need you
Maybe you’re thinking, so what…………
I am NOT DOING a whole lot of kissing, at seventy two.
Does it matter ?
Actually, a whole lot more than one would think. Your lip muscles play a pivotal role in eating and breathing.
The eating role, is obvious.
The lip seal
Job number one of your lips, is to keep a grip on the bites, you shove into your mouth. Slips and spills, are more than just, inconveniences.
They can be life threatening.
I know that sounds a bit, melodramatic, let me explain…..
Slips and spills
Increase the risk of food, going down the “wrong” pipe.
If the “bite” wedges in the breathing pipe – it can be tickets.
If the “bite” slips on down the breathing pipe, it can lead to a serious infection, deep inside the lungs.
Pneumonia is no picnic.
The other problem with slips and spills……….
If the bites that you take, have a mind of their own, it takes longer to eat your dinner.
So……… you eat less dinner.
And you get less of the good things you need, to maintain the muscle you do have. Eish !
You also breath less efficiently because…..
Mouth breathing increases
You see, the lips don’t just keep the mouth closed, when you’re eating, they keep the mouth closed when you’re NOT EATING.
Which turns out to be a good thing.
Given the choice, the body has a tendency to shift to mouth breathing. It’s not completely unexpected – the volume of air, you can access through your mouth, is considerably greater, than through the nose.
It’s a great strategy, when you’ve sprinted for the bus. But, it’s not so great, if it’s done, continuously…..
The nose knows
How to filter the air AND conserve water.
So, routine mouth breathing, leads to dehydration and a dry mouth…….
Which can lead to shifts in who is who, in the mouth zoo – putting you at risk of bad breath, tooth decay and even heart attacks.
But there is more………….
The other problem with mouth breathing, it puts strain on the epiglottis. This is the little guy, that is in charge of which pipe is open…
There can only be ONE pipe open, at any given moment.
If he is having to jump around, like a mad man, to accommodate random swallows of saliva and breathing.
He eventually “makes a plan”, expanding his girth, to cut back on the “jumping” around….
Leaving you with a new set of problems, among them, sleep apnea. Now sleep apnea is a recipe for BAD BODY CHEMISTRY.
Showing the orbicularis oris some love
By now, you’re starting to think (hopefully)………….my lip muscles are kind of important.
What can I do to help them ?
This was what was on a team of Japanese researchers mind, when they showed up at an old age home in Toyama, Japan, with a plan, to give older lip muscles a workout.
Would it make a difference ?
Lip muscles go to the gym
They enlisted the help of 20, seriously old, oldies – the mean age of the participants was 86,3 ± 1 years.
Each set of lips, was put through it’s paces, at the start of the study and then 4 weeks later,
- half of the lips, endured “lip boot camp”, 3 times a day
- the remaining lips, did nothing special, beyond the usual eating, smiling and talking.
NOTE : The lip boot camp sessions, involved using a fancy little plastic lip trainer, for 3 minutes, before breakfast, lunch and dinner.
So what happened ?
Lip lifts make a difference
On each parameter tested.
The trained lips, were definitely more forceful….
A result that is not unexpected.
After all, bench pressing muscles, usually get stronger….
But what was more interesting, is the lip boot camp, helped the lips work better.
Eating less messy
Video footage of eating sessions, showed.
Eating was more efficient AND less messy.
And, lip workouts, resulted in ….
When the team measured the rest-activity rhythm of the oldies, by strapping an accelerometer, onto their wrists, they recorded significant fewer cat naps in the middle of the day.
Now any time you NEED, to nap in the middle of the day…
Odds are, you didn’t nap enough, in the middle of the night.
Since, eighty something year olds, are not in the habit of partying all night, day time naps, are a proxy for poor sleep quality. Lots of things can cause poor sleep quality, top of the list, is sleep apnea.
When you’ve got sleep apnea, you STOP breathing, whilst you’re sleeping. Not breathing constitutes an EMERGENCY, which “wakes you up” – short changing you on sleep quality………… which had knock on effects on brain activity.
A brain wake up call
Was provided by the lip muscle training.
Near infrared spectroscopy of different brain regions, revealed lip training, produced improvements in the levels of oxygen, flowing through the prefrontal cortex….
Anytime, oxygen delivery to the brain is improved, the ability to THINK, is improved.
Lip workouts mandatory for better body chemistry
Unfortunately, as we age……. your lips, more often find themselves with less to do.
- you eat softer foods,
- you talk less,
- you kiss less,
- you sing less etc.
It’s another case of USE IT or LOSE it.
So, look for opportunities to send your orbicularis oris muscle to boot camp – it will help you create BETTER BODY CHEMISTRY and BETTER HEALTH.
NOTE : This is the device that was used in the study – it’s pretty pricy, but if you’re keen, you can purchase it, from the Japanese firm, that makes it. But, there are plenty of do it yourself, set ups to get the same effect. Two pretty easy options. Use a spoon or a button on a thread. Click here to learn more.
When it comes to medications, what goes in, must come out, and it’s getting paracetamol “out”, that is it’s Achilles heal – putting you at risk of health problems
Lost your appetite ? Try inviting yourself to dinner, by eating in front of a mirror – it will make food more appealing and you’ll eat more.
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