by Robert Locke: Do you like to sing?
You probably think you are not musical and you sing too much out of tune. The truth is that you are missing out on enormous health benefits when you decide to keep quiet and never sing.
It may also be due to the fact that about 85% of us were told long ago that we cannot sing and that we should never open our mouths in public. What a mistake!
Singing is an integral art of the whole music experience, which is very beneficial for everybody. Research now shows that those people who sing are happier, live longer and are generally much healthier too. So sing your heart out, because nobody cares whether you are in tune or not, unless you are in a choir!
You can choose a sing-along event, the shower, the car, or anywhere you feel uninhibited if the choir turns you down. Here are five reasons why these singers are getting an extra bonus.
“Sing like no one is listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching and live like it’s heaven on earth.” – Mark Twain
1. They have better heart and lung health
We all know about the benefits of deep breathing when we are in the yoga or gym class. But singing out loud can get a whole range of muscles working and improve circulation.
It can help tone abdominal and intercostal muscles. If you sing together with friends or in a choir this may also be great for the heart as researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden has found.
Their work indicates that the regular and controlled breathing helps you relax and there is a reduced risk of heart disease. They experience a synchronized heartbeat especially when they sing slow chants.
Other studies, including one at the University of Cardiff, found patients with chronic lung conditions who were choir members had greater breathing capacity.
“Singing is like a celebration of oxygen.” – Bjork
2. They are happier
When they sing, singers experience a release of the endorphins which make them feel better and their mood is lifted. Their nerves are soothed and they just feel better.
This is heightened when people sing together in a group or choir. But another hormone, known as oxytocin (the cuddle hormone) is also activated when they sing. This increases a sense of bonding and trust.
Watch the entertaining video here which explains why you should be singing more and more often.
“He who sings scares away his woes.” – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
3. They have better balance
There is a very interesting study being conducted by the University of California San Francisco at the moment. They have created 12 new choirs in centers catering for the elderly in the bay area.
Before they started out, they were tested for their leg strength and balance which are key factors in preventing falls in the elderly. They have found that the choir members fall much less and they seem to have stronger legs and better balance. Just another reason for doing your singing practise as the years go by.
“I believe that singing is the key to long life, a good figure, a stable temperament, increased intelligence, new friends, super self-confidence, heightened sexual attractiveness and a better sense of humor.” – Brian Eno
4. They will live longer
Another reason to tune up your vocal chords is the fact that it may well help you live longer. This is the result of research done in a joint study at Harvard and Yale. They studied the life expectancy of the aging population of New Haven, Connecticut.
The reasons why singing helped them live longer was because they had better mental health, were less depressed and had an improved well being all round. Obviously a healthy lifestyle helps as well, as Frank Holder remarks.
“I have kept a clean profile by not being involved in drugs, smoking, drinking and partying too hard, or any temptation that might affect my singing or detract from my performances.” – Frank Holder.
5. They have better posture and look younger
When singers get their breathing technique right, they are forced to stand straight with their shoulders back. Good posture enhances breathing which results in a better-sounding voice. It also means you will have better health as you age.
Have you ever seen a choir perform sitting down? There is some excellent advice in the section, creating correct singing posture, in the book Singing for Dummies by Pamelia S. Phillips.
Singers get to exercise a wide range of muscles from the stomach right up to the face. It is these facial muscles which will be toned and make you look younger and more vibrant.
They also say that when you smile, the facial muscles will get good exercise. Unfortunately, when you smile, it does not necessarily mean you will sing well!
“I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain; What a glorious feeling, I’m happy again.” – Arthur Freed