Sing, sing a song,
Sing out loud, sing out strong!
Karen Carpenter doled out some good health advice in the Carpenters classic “Sing.” Taking even just 5-minutes a day to belt out a tune—no matter how off key—can boost circulation, exercise the brain and body, improve your mood..and so much more!
The Health Benefits of Singing
Numerous studies have linked singing with health. Group singing in particular yields a significant impact on your well-being. A 2008 Australian study found that choir singers had higher levels of satisfaction than their non-singing counterparts, and a 1998 study showed that nursing-home residents who engaged in a month-long singing program had lower levels of anxiety and depression.
You don’t have to be a professional singer to access the health benefits of singing. Even a 5-minute choral break in the shower can tap into the following health perks:
- Improved circulation
- Elevated mood
- Enhanced memory and concentration
- Stronger core muscles
- More oxygen uptake
- Less anxiety and stress
Singing releases feel-good endorphins—hormones that lower stress and make us feel happier and more at peace. In fact, singing activates endorphins in the same manner as exercise does, without all that sweat! As we breathe in more oxygen (singing automatically causes us to take deeper inhales) we improve our circulation and breathe out anxiety.
“Song is a form of regular, controlled breathing, since breathing out occurs on the song phrases and inhaling takes place between these,” says Dr Björn Vickhoff of University of Gothenburg, Sweden. “It gives you pretty much the same effect as yoga breathing. It helps you relax, and there are indications that it does provide a heart benefit.”
Use Your Diaphragm
Rather than singing from the throat, belt out your favorite tune using your diaphragm, the large muscle that separates your chest and abdominal cavities. When you breath into your diaphragm correctly, your stomach will expand, and it’s that type of movement you’re looking to access during your 5-minute singing break. Diaphragm singing activates the lymphatic system, which helps eliminate toxins and waste by-products from the body. A healthy lymphatic system strengthens your immune system and wards off illness and disease.
Practice breathing into your diaphragm first. Your stomach should expand out on the inhale and flatten back in on the exhale. Once you’ve mastered the breath, add a tune. Regardless of form, have fun! Sing out loud…and sing out strong!