Senior Care

Singing for your health! Benefits of singing include less stress, increased memory, better sleep and no more snoring.

By March 14, 2017 No Comments

I know that I have personally always enjoyed belting it out while listening to a great song while I am driving. Or when there is a chance to go out with old-time friends and sing KARAOKE to those songs we grew up with.

Studies show that there are many benefits to singing in groups. Here are the ones that might interest you.

Provides exercise. Singing can be considered a fun workout. It pumps your lungs, strengthens your diaphragm and stimulates circulation.

Eases asthma. Some research, still in the early stages, has found that singing slightly improves lung function and can ease mild asthma, as well as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Promotes heart health. Like yoga, singing produces larger and slower breathing and improves heart rate variability, a measure of the amount of time between heartbeats. The same research found that chorus members register the same heart rates while singing, as if they were not only bringing their voices together as one but breathing as one.

Improves sleep. Singing helps strengthen our airways’ muscles. When these muscles are soft or weak, they vibrate, causing snoring and sleep apnea. A study comparing choir singers and non-singers found that singers had significantly less severe snoring. (There’s even a series of CDs, Singing for Snorers, that offers vocal exercises designed to stop snoring.)

Boosts immune system. Choir singers had their blood tested before and after an hour-long rehearsal. In most cases, the amount of proteins in the immune system that function as antibodies were significantly higher after the rehearsal.

Similarly, a group of cancer patients showed higher levels of immune system molecules called cytokines after an hour of choir singing, plus lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Lowers stress levels. In addition to reducing cortisol levels, singing clears tension stored in muscles. It also releases the hormone oxytocin, which relieves anxiety and stress, as well as boosts feelings of trust and bonding. In one Japanese study, choir singers reported improved mood and less tension.

Enhances memory. Because of improved blood and oxygen circulation, the brain works better, increasing concentration and memory. The U.K. Alzheimer’s Society offers a “Singing for the Brain” service to help people with dementia and Alzheimer’s jostle their memories. Some experts think that activities such as singing may help delay the onset of some age-related cognitive problems.

Eases depression. Singing releases endorphins, the brain chemical that makes you feel happy. And a small organ in the ear, called the sacculus, responds to singing’s frequencies and creates a pleasurable sensation.

Offers social connection. Making music together forms bonds, even when you may not know all the members of your choir. To blend with others’ voices, you need to be aware of and listen to everyone around you. Surveys have found that people who take part in singing groups feel more connected to other people and more self-confident, perhaps partly from being able to perform in front of others.

Many senior living facilities have musical groups—small bands or choruses—composed of residents. We always enjoy seeing the residents during these musical events when we are visiting a local community, the enjoyment level is very high!