All Together Now: How Singing Benefits Body & Mind
Being a longtime fan of The Beatles, I sometimes boast that I know all the lyrics of every song, from Please, Please Me to Let It Be. So, when all of their albums were recently made available on Spotify, I was all over it! Ever since, I’ve been playing Beatles songs at top volume in my car, joyfully singing my heart out!
This got me to thinking… the act of singing is such an enormously pleasurable passtime, there must be other benefits acquired from a good sing-a-long! As a result, I consulted Professor Google, searching for “singing benefits” and was delighted to discover a wealth of scholarly investigation on the advantages of singing!
The Joyful Benefits of Singing
Researchers have been hard at work in efforts to explain why singing serves to both sooth the nerves and elevate your spirits at the same time! Here are some good reasons why you really should sing more often:
The elated feeling you get from singing possibly comes from the endorphins that are released by the brain while singing. The principle function of endorphins is to produce feelings of euphoria, as well as inhibiting transmission of pain signals. It has also been found that the hormone oxytocin is released when you sing, enhancing feelings of trust and bonding, which may explain why singing lessens feelings of depression and loneliness.
Researchers in Sweden, found that choir members' heartbeats synchronize when they sing together, bringing about a calming effect that is as beneficial to our health as yoga. As it happens, singing is a form of regular, controlled breathing, providing a similar effect as yogic breathing, helping you to relax.
The benefits of singing frequently have been shown to be cumulative. In one study, it was found that lower levels of cortisol were measured amongst singers, indicating lower levels of stress. It is not surprising, then, that multiple studies have demonstrated that singing relieves anxiety and contributes greatly to quality of life! Fortunately, you don’t have to be a good singer to reap the rewards! One 2005 study confirmed that group singing produces satisfying and therapeutic sensations, even when the sound produces is of mediocre quality!
One five-year study examined older singers, finding that group singing is a no-cost way to improve the health and wellbeing in older adults. Indeed, choral singing has been used as music therapy in hospitals, care homes and hospices for decades. Music therapists maintain that people with dementia are enabled to access memories and experience joy.
Singing has a number of health benefits too. Researchers have proven that with singing, we can train our lungs to breathe better. A study in 2012 found that lung cancer patients who sang in a choir had a greater expiratory capacity than those who didn’t. Singing has also been shown to boost our immune system, reduce stress levels, and help patients cope with chronic pain.
So, if you want give a boost to your health and wellbeing, crank up your favorite tunes and sing along to your heart’s content! Better yet, join a local singing group or choir! Singing is cheaper than therapy, safer than medication, and certainly more pleasurable that working out! Indeed, singing is one thing in life in which feeling good is pretty much guaranteed!
"The only thing better than singing is more singing." ~ Ella Fitzgerald