I always love to talk about the bigger picture benefits of belonging to a choir —the spiritual, soul-level benefits of singing: the confidence it can bring you, and the way it connects you to your community and to your inner being. And that stuff is hugely important! But it’s sometimes easy to forget that regular singing has tangible, real-world, physical benefits too.
For instance, did you know that singing can:
This is a biggie. After all, we’ve all heard about (and probably experienced) the many physical symptoms that come from being stressed. The headaches, the poor sleep, the weight gain, the tense muscles. When life is a bit crazy and you’re slammed with work, caring for your family, or other responsibilities, having a regular date with your choir — taking the time to do something just for you — can be the tonic you need to relieve some of that tension. And you can’t beat belting out a powerful song as a form of mindfulness, keeping you in the moment, and helping you forget your troubles for an hour or two. It’s no wonder one of our singers calls Sing Portland! the best therapy $10 can buy!
Research into the immune system’s response to singing is still in the early stages, but studies so far look promising. When researchers tested the saliva of choir singers after an hour’s rehearsal, they discovered higher levels of immune enhancing proteins, Immunoglobulin A. Laughter may be the best medicine, but it looks like singing isn’t far behind.
Improve heart health.
Now, we’re not saying that you can ditch the fruit and oatmeal, but if you want to improve your heart health, singing could be a great place to start. As with yoga practice, singing encourages you to concentrate on your breathing —as you breathe more consciously and slowly, your heart rate can also slow. And you don’t have to tie yourself in knots in the process.
Give you a good night’s sleep.
There’s nothing worse than waking yourself up from a deep sleep with a great snort! And it’s no picnic for anyone sharing a bed with a snorer either. Well, you can put away those ear plugs, we may have the answer for you right here. Snoring can be caused by weakened airway muscles vibrating and regular singing can strengthen these muscles, reducing vibrations, and ensuring a peaceful night’s sleep for everyone.
We’re probably all a little guilty of letting our posture slip; too much time spent at a desk or hunched over a laptop can play havoc with our back muscles but after a while your singing stance (standing up straight, shoulders back for better projection) can become a habit that will improve your posture as you go about your other daily tasks too.
Reduce asthma symptoms.
This is another one that is still in the early stages of research but it was too exciting to leave off the list as anyone who has to live with asthma symptoms will understand. Again it comes down to slow, concentrated breathing and the positive impact this can have on lung function. It’s too soon to say for sure whether singing can help long-term, but for those who have mild asthma symptoms, it’s certainly worth a try!
So there you have it, great health benefits without setting foot in a gym, following a fad diet, or blitzing a green smoothie 🙂