We do it in the shower, on the freeway, and mostly when no one is watching. Whether we’re belting it out in front of the mirror or enjoying a jam session with a friend, we can’t resist singing along to a catchy tune. But did you know there are several health benefits associated with singing? Get to know the perks of channeling your inner Adele.
Singing may be good for your heart.
Whether you sound like Beyoncé or William Hung, singing requires you to practice specific breathing patterns, similar to Yoga. According to a 2013 Frontiers study, taking bigger, slower breaths typically slows your heart rate. The study required a group of mixed-gendered 18-year-olds to hum and sing in various song structures. The results showed that singing could improve your heart rate “variability,” which measures the amount of time between heartbeats. It also revealed that the hearts of the individuals accelerated and decelerated simultaneously when they sang as a choir.
Singing can relieve stress.
Ditch the deep tissue massage, and cozy up to choir practice! Several studies used different approaches to conclude that singing eases stress and anxiety. A 2004 German study found that singing lowered the levels of Cortisol, known as the stress hormone. Meanwhile, Dr. Julene K. Johnson, a professor at the UCSF Institute for Health & Aging, examined older choir singers and discovered that singing is a cost-effective way to improve health among older adults. Whether you enjoy hitting the high notes a la Mariah Carey, or love harmonizing with others, singing is a great way to release tension in your body.
Singing can improve immunity in cancer patients.
Singing isn’t a cure for cancer, but it can have psychological benefits for cancer patients. Research shows that singing has a significant effect on increasing endorphins and oxytocin, your happy hormones. The ability to relax and have fun while singing gives cancer patients a sense of achievement and allows them to let go of their worries, even if momentarily. Their calming breathing habits also contribute to reduced stress and an improved mental state.
Singing doesn’t work miracles, but it may help if your snoring has been compared to that of a grizzly bear. Snoring occurs when our airway muscles vibrate because they are weak. Vocal exercises help you strengthen these airway muscles and can curb the loud noises we make while sleeping. It might be helpful to start singing more during the day to make less noise at night.
Who knew a good lung workout in the shower could produce so many health benefits? Consider joining a Glee-inspired choir or keep singing into your ‘hairbrush microphone.’ Whatever you do, just keep singing. And remember, one song a day could keep the doctor away.
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