Is it possible? Could it really be true? Mankind has been searching for the fountain of youth, the legendary “elixir of life” for thousands of years — but turns out it has been on the tip of our tongue all along.
The health benefits associated with singing are very well documented. Many studies done over a number of years have proven singing is good for you and the evidence is overwhelming: People who sing are healthier than people who don’t.
Naturally, singing improves your mood. It releases the same feel-good brain chemicals as chocolate!
Singing simultaneously releases endorphins (the pleasure hormones) and oxytocins (hormones to reduce stress and anxiety) is further cause for musical celebration.
Singing works out your abdominal muscles, intercostal muscles, the diaphragm muscles, and especially your facial muscles.
Singing improves skin tone and condition. If you’ve ever wondered why many elder entertainers manage to look great without plastic surgery, part of the answer is singing. Regular singing can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and research concludes that singing produces more youthful-looking skin that literally glows due to increased blood flow to the skin.
There’s more. Singing improves respiratory functions. Professor Graham Welch, Director of Educational Research, University of Surrey, Roehampton, UK says, “Singing makes us breathe more deeply than many forms of strenuous exercise, so we take in more oxygen, improve aerobic capacity and experience a release of muscle tension as well.” He also adds, “it provides some aerobic exercise for the elderly or disabled.”
And if your mobility is limited, singing can have some of the same effects as exercise, like the release of endorphins, which give you that “lifted” feeling and are associated with stress reduction.
Singing has another age-related benefit you may not have considered. Singing exercises the vocal cords and keeps them youthful even as we age. “The less age-battered your voice sounds, the more you will feel, and seem, younger,” says the professor. Singing can also reshape your vocal cords giving you a more youthful-sounding voice.
Singing, the professor shows, increases your circulation which in turn oxygenates the blood and cells, boosting your immune system significantly to reduce minor inflammation and infection.
Singing before bed will help you sleep better. (If you don’t believe me, next time you lay down and close your eyes, try humming your favorite song… all the way through. You’ll sleep like a baby.)
Singing also helps clear your sinuses. It has an anti-inflammatory effect on your nasal passages and helps to improve airflow and reduce swelling. Varying frequencies and tonality while singing can also help clear blocked passages.
In addition, a new German study has concluded that amateur singing is a defense against respiratory infections, improves emotional well-being. “Given that every human being is, in principle, capable of developing sufficient vocal skills to participate in a chorale for a lifetime, active group singing may be a risk-free, economic, easily accessible, and yet powerful road to enhanced physiological and psychological well-being.”
In March of this year (2018) a study was published by O2 (owners of the ex-Millennium Dome music venue in London) and London’s Goldsmith’s University declaring that “20 minutes at a show… can lead to a 21 percent increase in that feeling of well-being”. Further research suggested going to gigs “directly links high levels of well-being with a lifespan increase of nine years”.
It seems like George Eliot was right when he said, “Life seems to go on without effort when I am filled with music.”