Do you love singing in the shower? While driving to work? When alone in the elevator? I don’t know about you but I sing every chance I get. Singing is not only a fun activity but a great one to do with the family, even if you do not think you are any good. Singing is a great way to reduce stress and so many other wonderful things. It is not new information that singing brings about a lot of benefits – not just to your appreciation of music and art but to your health as well. Singing as a way to improve health and well being has been a practice for hundreds of years already, especially in the past where singing was even considered as a means of healing the sick. The benefits of this simple activity should not be underestimated, especially today where we have a generation of stressed and working professionals, as well as an increasing number of patients contracting different types of diseases. So what exactly can singing do for you? Here are some examples:
- Singing can improve oxygenation and strengthen the respiratory muscles, as stated by Professor Graham Welch, Chair of Music Education at the Institute of Education, University of London. According to him, singing has physical benefits because it is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the upper body.
- Singing can also be used as a way to manage or control pain for both patients with acute diseases or for terminally ill patients. This is supported by findings in a research published in the Journal of Music Therapy in 2004, which states that group singing has shown to have helped a lot of patients cope better with chronic pain.
- Regular exercising of the vocal cords, which occurs while singing, is also known to prolong life, according to research conducted by leading vocal coach and singer Helen Astrid, from The Helen Astrid Singing Academy in London. According to her, singing is a great way to keep in shape because in doing so, you are exercising your lungs and heart. She found that singing can also increase lung capacity, improve posture, clear respiratory tubes and sinuses, and can increase mental alertness through greater oxygenation as well.
- Some scientists also say that singing may improve the function of the immune system too, allowing us to become more resistant of contracting some common infectious diseases. This notion is supported by findings of a research by scientists at the University of Frankfurt in Germany, published in the US Journal of Behavioral Medicine. They found that concentrations of immune system proteins and anti-stress hormones increased significantly during a choir’s singing rehearsal.
- In addition to physiological and physical effects, singing also has psychological benefits. When we sing, our endocrine system starts releases the so-called “happy hormones”, also known as endorphins, which can bring about a feeling of well-being and euphoria. This may be the reason why we sometimes feel ecstatic while singing our lungs out. It was also found in some studies that people who frequently engage in singing activities tend to suffer less depression, make fewer doctor visits a year, and take fewer medications too. In many homes for the elderly, singing was also found to have effects on increasing self-esteem and preventing mental decline.
Doesn’t these benefits sound great? All possible while performing a simple activity – and you need not be good at it to reap the benefits! So go ahead and exercise those vocal cords now, make it a family activity if you can.