It doesn’t matter if you are good or bad. Face it, everyone does it! Whether it’s in the shower, in your bedroom, in the car, or at work, everyone likes to sing. It is a form of expression and communication that speaks to people and makes us feel great. And, singing has health benefits, too!
Singing is a form of communication first introduced to us as infants. According to Sally Goddard Blythe, author of The Genius of Natural Childhood and director of the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology, singing is the most effective way to develop communication skills in a child because it prepares the brain and voice for language. In a neuro-imaging scan of a child’s brain while listening to music, activity was shown not just in the hotspots, but in large areas in both hemispheres of the brain.
Better Brain Cognition
A neurobiologist from Northwestern University presented her musical findings at the American Psychological Association’s 122nd Annual Convention. She tested hundreds of children in public schools in impoverished areas and found that the kids who sang or were learning a musical instrument had improved neural function and attention span. Their IQs also improved after each year of music and singing lessons.
A Natural Mood Booster
The same as exercise, singing can release endorphins, the chemicals in your brain that make you feel good and happy. Scientists discovered that the sacculus, a small organ in the ear, reacts to the frequencies in singing, creating a sense of pleasure when heard.
In 2015, The Alzheimer’s Society created the “Singing for the Brain” program to help with their patients’ memories. What they discovered was that the oxygen exchange that occurs when breathing in and out during singing actually increases blood circulation, creating a better-oxygenated bloodstream through the body as well the brain. However, this is not exclusive to people with dementia. It can apply to anyone who wants to improves memory and concentration.
Strengthens Immune System
The University of Frankfurt performed a study on a choir in which they took blood and saliva samples from each of the members before and after a one-hour rehearsal. What they found was that the choir members had increased levels of S-IgA (Secretory immunoglobulin A), proteins that act like antibodies in the immune system. The effects of singing choral music were significantly opposite from just listening to it, which gave decreased S-IgA levels.
Decreases Stress Levels
When singing, a person breathes in and out between phrases, emulating slow breathing for relaxation. Muscle tension is released, which lowers cortisol, a stress hormone, in our bloodstream. Oxytocin is also produced, which can alleviate stress as a natural stress reliever.
Lower Blood Pressure
If you have a high blood pressure and are taking medication for it, singing might be the best natural medication for you. Singing has been proven to influence the body to relax and reduce blood pressure, lowering your anxiety.
Improves Your Posture
Maintaining good posture is a habit that can be easily created by singing because posture is a significant part of the correct technique. The chest cavity expands, causing the back and shoulders to align properly. According to Harvard Health, having good posture prevents you from having inflexible muscles muscle that can limit your range of motion, and it also promotes better breathing.
A Good Exercise
Singing is a great workout for those who are injured, disabled, or elderly. Applying the correct technique and vocal exercises for singing can be a great exercise for the lungs and also develop a stronger diaphragm by contracting the abdominal muscles. The oxygen used in singing is actually a greater amount than some other exercises. Therefore, it can promote better stamina and capacity.
Get Better Sleep
Everyone knows someone who snores or maybe has sleep apnea. Whatever the case, Alise Ojay, a drama therapist from the University of York, wanted to conduct an experiment called “Singing for Snorers” to help her friend. She collaborated with the University of Exeter, UK, and found that singing helps strengthen throat muscles, which decreases the frequency of snoring. With time, it can significantly reduce sleep apnea.
Can singing help you live longer? It definitely can! The University of San Francisco conducted a study to prove this idea. Researchers used people from senior centers in the Bay Area and formed 12 choirs. They tested their balance, lower body strength, and the respiratory system before and after the study. What they found was that the people in the choir fell less and had stronger legs. Julene Johnson from the UCSF Institute for Health and Aging also found that 30% of the older adults who complained of shortness of breath had improved breathing. In a later study in Scandinavia, singing was determined to be the key to a longer life, along with camping and dancing.