Singing is such an everyday activity that its benefits for our mental health and wellbeing are often overlooked. But, increasingly, research suggests that belting out your favourite tune can keep you healthy and calm.
Whether it’s among friends in a choir, screaming along to the car radio or at the top of your voice while have a scrub in the shower – we all love a good sing-song. Gemma Harris explores the different ways singing can improve your health…
Why singing in the shower sounds better
When was the last time you sang among the soap suds or turned the shower head into a microphone? Not only is expressing ourselves in the shower satisfying, but it can make us sound better too!
Tiles in the bathroom don’t absorb sound – making it the perfect sound system. Plus, because the shower is a small space it makes your singing sound more powerful.
So, wash away the stress and don’t be afraid to belt out your favourite Mariah Carey song – because you know you sound good.
Singing can help you stay fit too
Fancy losing a few pounds? Forget powerwalking round the block after work, simply go home and belt out some lyrics. It’s not just exercise which can help shift those pounds but singing along to your favourite chart topper too.
According to health.com, singing burns 136 calories per hour. Okay, so it might not be a workout in the same way as going to the gym or for a run but singing while standing has been recognised to burn more calories than walking, yoga or light housework.
Your lungs get a workout through adopting singing techniques and vocal projections. The American Journal of Nursing also reported that opera singers had stronger chest muscles, better pumping hearts and maintained their lung capacity until older age.
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Can singing really reduce stress?
We are always searching for ways to a stress-free life but could singing be the answer? A 2013 study which explored the benefits on amateur and professional singers, during a singing lesson, noted an increased level of oxytocin – a hormone in the blood associated with stress reduction – after the session.
Some members used the lesson as a form of self-expression and a way of releasing emotional tensions. So, feel the tension slip away next time you hit that high note.
Why singing in a choir is good for you
We are all familiar with the warmth and happiness we feel when connecting with other people. Well the same is true when singing in a choir. Research has found singing in a group can bring a number of benefits for both body and mind.
Sciencefocus.com claims: “Singing along with friends … fosters a powerful sense of belonging.” Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, indicate the calming effects of singing in a choir can be as beneficial to your health as yoga.
They have discovered singing in unison actually causes members hearts to synchronise. This synchronisation is thought to be due to the breathing techniques singers learn along to the music. Similar to yoga, this provides consistency to the rhythm of our heartbeat.
Is singing the ultimate mood booster?
Research has found projecting your vocals is the ultimate mood booster which can improve the overall function of the brain. A 2012 study evidenced that singing triggers endorphin release – a hormone produced in the brain – which is associated with feelings of pleasure.
As it is also an aerobic activity, this provides the blood with increased oxygen which results in improved circulation and, consequently, a better mood. So, singing is not just valuable for you but those around you too!
Next time you’re singing in the office and a colleague tells you to be quiet just explain that you’re singing for their benefit.
Images by Getty Images and Lechon Kirb on Unsplash