According to a member of the World Federation of Music Therapy, singing is more than just a pleasant habit many people enjoy while in the shower. Singing can actually help you lose weight and boost your immunity. But that’s not all. There are also many health benefits of singing.
5 major health benefits of singing
1. Lose weight, relieve pain, and boost immunity
As soon as someone starts to sing, or even hum, the body releases two types of hormones. According to Baishali Mukherjee of the World Federation of Music Therapy, singing is an aerobic exercise that releases endorphins and oxytocin.
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Endorphins are a natural painkiller. In turn, they stimulate wellbeing and relieve tension. In addition, endorphins can make people feel happy and confident which plays a vital role in reducing stress and anxiety. Whether people are under pressure or have any kind of physical discomfort, illness, or psychological pain, singing can affect the body and mind and even lift the spirit.
So, next time you feel discomfort or the rise of tension due to stress, just take a few minutes to sing a bit. Any song will do.
2. Stress hormone reduction
I remember loving going to school on Mondays as a 4th grader. Strange, I know. But the one thing that made me look forward to the beginning of the week was singing. We would gather around in the school cafeteria and a teacher would accompany us on the piano. Really a magical memory, just thinking of it relaxes me and puts a smile on my face.
Ok, but why does singing reduce stress?
When you sing, the body releases endorphins as we mentioned before. These are chemicals your body produces that literally make you feel happy. Stress, on the other hand, is accompanied by an increase of a hormone called cortisol. The chemicals produced by singing reset the effects of stress and reduce the production of cortisol, thus singing reduces stress.
Nothing better than convincing yourself. How about singing along to your favorite song on the radio the next time it plays?
3. Full body ‘workout’ and weight loss
Now, this one seems far-fetched. How does singing even closely relate to anything sporty? Most people underestimate the athletic features of singing. That’s right! Singing is a physical activity. According to “take lessons” voice teacher Rebecca: “And although it doesn’t demand nearly the same endurance training as running a marathon, singing is a very physical activity. While just two tiny muscles are responsible for forming the sound of your singing voice (your vocal cords), the act of singing is a whole-body experience.”
According to British Medical Journal Open Respiratory Research, in a study aimed at adults who are not singers, when the participant’s physiological reactions to singing were tested, it was found that the exercise effect of singing is equivalent to moderate-intensity exercise, such as moderately brisk walking.
4. Help relieve chronic breathing problems
It’s a well-established fact that singing for lung health (SLH) is a popular arts-in-health activity geared toward people who have long-term respiratory conditions. Participants report physical, mental, and social benefits even though research on its impact is limited.
As part of one study, 15 people received training from the British Lung Foundation (BLF). These 15 so-called singing group leaders would each go and create a singing for lung health (SLH) group of their own.
The published study on the benefits of singing for lung health found that “participants reported physical health improvements such as reduced breathlessness on activity. The content and delivery of singing classes observed displayed a good level of fidelity, suggesting that SLH training is effective.”
5. Improve language and communication skills 3-fold
There are 3 ways that singing improves your communication skills.
To sing, you also need to listen, and not just with your ears. You need to listen with your whole being. You could consider this mindfulness training at its core. This type of hearing is more of an inward listening than just something done outwardly.
2. Understanding text
Singing transports emotion. The transition between the movements of various song parts requires a deep understanding of emotions and how to transition from one to the other.
Believe it or not, singing, just like speaking, happens on multiple levels at once.
One level is the melody which conveys the emotion — that color and movement.
The next level is the intent or purpose. A song always wants to tell you something. On the surface, it’s the words, but deep down, it’s a story.
Another level is the question. Every word we utter, whether it is spoken or sung, tells us something about an inner search. With some mindfulness and empathy, you are able to notice that there is always something being asked, a subtext behind things said. Music, or singing for that matter, is no different.
Singers will always seek clarity in their performance — clarity in terms of what am I supposed to sound like? What is it that I need to understand about this piece so that I can sing it out authentically?
Now, that does not mean that using singing to improve language and communication skills requires one to be a professional singer. What it does mean is that singing done with the intention to do it to the best of our ability is like a mindfulness exercise.
You discover things nothing else can show you. You hone your communication and social skills because the more you understand yourself, the better you automatically get at understanding other people. Thus, you improve your communication and social skills tremendously just by singing with the right mindset and intent.
Translation and Research by Patty Zhang