The amazing physical benefits of singing
I talk to people all the time about why singing is just so, so good for you. Let’s put the business benefits to one side for a moment (although, take a look here if you want to read about those), and let’s dive in to just some of the amazing health benefits of singing:
Singing gives us big fat doses of yummy oxygen.
Singing requires increased levels of oxygen to come into the body, as we use more breath for sustaining notes in song than we do for speaking. This increased oxygen does a few things.
It fills the lungs more than our day-to-day breathing, which is great for lung health.
The extra oxygen dances around our bloodstream which is brilliant for our heart health.
It also whizzes up to our brain and acts like a fuel to make us more productive and more focused.
Singing improves our blood circulation.
Remember I said that singing increases oxygen levels in the blood? Well, it improves circulation of that blood too! Improved blood circulation helps promote cell growth and organ function, and (this one is cool) healthier skin. Healthier skin is better able to fight off infections and considering our skin is the biggest organ we have to protect us against the harsh world outside? I’d say this is a pretty cool side effect to singing!
Singing releases endorphins.
Endorphins are little chemicals which fire through our brain and nervous system (not sure if they actually are little - but in my head they’re cute!) They’re what we fondly call our ‘happy hormones’, and they’re our bodies clever way of releasing tension and stress, dealing with anxiety and depression, and boosting our happiness. They work similarly to opioids - a class of drugs which relieve pain and produce feelings of euphoria. That’s right guys - singing is like a drug which can actually relieve pain, reduce stress and make us happier!
Singing regulates levels of cortisol in our bloodstream.
Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands just above our kidneys, which send the signal to the brain that we’re under stress and therefore need increased blood sugar to get the natural energy to ‘fight or fly’. While cortisol is a useful little thing (there I go with the little again), increased levels of cortisol due to chronic stress can result in some pretty nasty health problems such as type 2 diabetes. But there’s good news! Singing lowers the increased levels of cortisol in the bloodstream, which means that you’ll have just enough left to survive if you do run into a tiger - but not so much that you cause yourself health problems if you’ve had a stressful working week.
Singing increases neuroplasticity, and improves neural pathways.
That was a lot of fancy words wasn’t it? Basically, singing is excellent for your brain. Our brains send signals through the nervous system (neural pathways), and they adapt to changing circumstances as we go through life (neuroplasticity). Singing supports these brain functions and improves their effectiveness, making us smarter and more adaptable to change.
Singing wakes up the right temporal lobe of the brain.
Woah - more brain words! We have 2 sides to the brain - the left side is responsible for the logical, organised and structural parts of living. It’s the side that processes information, stores it and works out an action plan through logistics. The right side is what I like to think of as the crazy twin. It’s responsible for creativity, intuition and expression. It’s the part which holds our dreams and visions and helps us imagine a world where all things are possible. In a world where we’re fed so much information and we’re given so much on demand (which decreases the need for imaginative thinking and creativity), this right brain is sadly often neglected. But firing up the creative parts of our brain more often can actually increase the effectiveness of the left brain. In comes singing to the rescue!
If you’re not already sold on singing as a healthy activity, I must conclude that you are a robot. Even if you don’t enjoy singing (which is perfectly okay), nobody can deny the amazing benefits it has on our body and brain. Seriously - I’ve only highlighted a few of them here! So much scientific research has been done on this subject you’d have to be an idiot to deny that singing is great for your health.
And what’s even cooler? It has been shown that singing with others all these effects are amplified. That’s right! Singing together not only contributes to our feeling of community and acceptance (so important for us to thrive), but it also amplifies all of the health benefits I’ve listed above. It has been shown that when we sing together, our heartbeats can even synchronise and start beating together.
What’s the best part? Singing is free and accessible to all! The health benefits of singing are not reserved for those who are ‘good’ at singing. It doesn’t matter how bad you think you sound - you can benefit from this amazing gift just as much as the next person.
I dare you to test this theory and sing more in your day to day - see how quickly you benefit physically, mentally and emotionally from doing so!
Want to sing with other people? Business Choir are always looking for new members to join the collaborative sound of entrepreneurs having fun. Book a free taster and try it out for yourself!