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How Singing Can Improve Your Health

MsDora, former teacher and counselor, is fascinated by the prospect of joyful aging. She explores and shares habits of happy seniors.

You should sing every day! “I can’t sing,” is not an acceptable excuse. Nandhu Radhakrishnan, Assistant Professor of Communication and Science Disorders at Columbia University of Missouri-Columbia assures us that people who say they cannot sing would be more truthful if they say they do not sing. Here are the known health benefits of singing:

  • Improves Blood Circulation
  • Emotional Release and Wellness
  • Enhances Memory
  • Encourages Spirituality
  • Builds Social Connections

Any voice can improve with practice and willingness; but with or without a trained voice, singing can improve you physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and socially.

The personal benefits of your singing have nothing to do with the quality of your voice. Even with a croaky voice, your singing can improve certain factors of your life beyond the health of people who have good voices but do not sing.

Following are five of several aspects in which health improvement by singing becomes obvious.

1. Improves Blood Circulation

Here are the findings of health professionals concerning various aspects of physical health which can improve with singing. Among other benefits, all three quotes mention a positive effect on the blood:

  • Professor Graham Welch, Chair of Music Education at the University of London studied the medical aspects of singing for 30 years. He finds that “Singing has physical benefits because it is an aerobic activity that increases oxygenation in the blood stream and exercises major muscle groups in the body even when sitting.”
  • Professor Don Stewart, head of public health at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia adds that “the act of singing had been proven to have physiological benefits, stimulating circulation, improving lung function.”
  • Scientists at the University of Frankfurt in Germany tested the blood of choir professionals before and after rehearsal. They reported that “concentrations of immunoglobin A - proteins in the immune system which function as antibodies - and hydrocortisone, an anti-stress hormone, increased significantly during the rehearsal.”

After you learn that singing can improve blood circulation, muscle exercise, lung function, and the immune system, do you still care what your voice sounds like?

2. Emotional Release and Wellness

Those who are blessed with beautiful voices may enjoy fame and fortune, yet they would admit that the joy of singing is higher on their list of blessings than any material gain they get from it.

Through the breathing associated with singing, the increase of oxygen causes the release of endorphins that boost mood. Usually, the body relaxes and the mind shuts out anxieties and frustrations. This emotional benefit also affects the listener; some people admit that they forget their troubles when they listen to a good song.

All song lyrics are not happy, and singing the blues can help the singer remember personal misfortunes. Even then, singing can be helpful.

Rob Smith, lecturer in Music Ministry at Sydney Missionary and Bible College in Sydney, Australia, states that “. . . singing can function as a very effective means of gently releasing suppressed emotions and of helping people to process the truth and reality behind their inner pain.”

Smith's advice is to sing truth; singing truth principles helps singers bridge the gap between what they experience and what they believe. It improves their outlook and their ability to rebound.

What song(s) do you remember from the Mary Poppins movie?

What song(s) do you remember from the Mary Poppins movie?

3. Enhances Memory

Singing is among the best memory tools. Most children learn the alphabet through singing. Adults remember the facts they learned in kindergarten tunes. Advertisers make silly ditties which pop up in your head without your conscious effort.

You are more likely to remember the words of a song that was rendered, than the actual words of a sentence the preacher said in church last weekend.

If you practice singing important names and dates in a tune you know or create for the specific purpose, your improved memory may surprise you.

Singing is a workout for the brain when you are learning new lyrics or new tunes. It empowers concentration and attention. Finally, it stimulates memory when it is time to sing without the printed words before you. In fact, singing is a good exercise to put on your daily list of memory boosters.

4. Encourages Spirituality

If you ever lack the energy to begin your devotional or motivational exercise at the start of the day, here too, singing is your most effective help.

Have an inspirational song on YouTube bookmarked, or keep a favorite CD handy nearby for such an occasion. At such times, a soothing instrumental may not produce the effect you want; you need song lyrics to activate your thoughts even if you only listen. Eventually, it becomes easy to sing along.

During the day, singing keeps your mind lifted above the mundane drudgeries of life. Some people develop the habit of keeping a song in their hearts, and will occasionally burst into song when the opportunity arises. Such people are able to keep their cool under pressure, to concentrate on purpose instead of problems.

Prayer songs are popular both at the beginning and the end of the day. They help you connect and communicate with God. At any time of day, they help you maintain that connection.

A Handy Prayer Song on YouTube

5. Builds Social Connections

Professor Stewart’s study also revealed that although people who join singing groups are usually less healthy than the average person, they are happier and lead a better quality of life. This is due to the social dynamics of group singing.

The professor states, “It's very much about the act of togetherness, the importance of being involved with others gives people this strong sense of connectedness and wellbeing we think."

Singing for the Brain also confirms the benefits of group singing. This is a weekly activity provided by the Alzheimer’s Association in the United Kingdom for patients and caregivers. At first, some patients seem uninterested, but after sharing in the singing exercises, communication with group members improves. They form friendships. Even their conversation at home improves and they begin to look forward to the group activity.

The people who benefit most from choral singing are women, older people, those who suffer from anxiety, and those who are bereaved.

Conclusion

The conclusion of all the research is that singing helps to improve quality of life. Singing is not everybody's talent to develop, but it is a tool everybody has for personal use. You will become a lasting, positive influence on children and grandchildren if you let them hear you sing.

References

1. Curiosity from Discovery: Emotions, What good does singing do for us besides carrying a nice tune? Human: the Science of Singing (visited 04/28/2014)

2. Heart Research: Sing for Your Heart (visited 04/28/2014)

3. McLean, Tamara: The Sydney Morning Herald, Choral singing makes you happy: survey (July 10, 2008)

4. ABC News Australia: Scientists say singing boosts immune system (January 19, 2004)

5. Smith, Rob: The Gospel Coalition, Themelios Volume 37, Issue 3, Music, Singing, and Emotions: Exploring the Connections,(November 2012)

6. McLean, Tamara: The Sydney Morning Herald, Choral singing makes you happy: survey (July 10, 2008)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2014 Dora Weithers

Comments

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 23, 2015:

Thank you, Patricia. I agree with your sentiments about singing. Thanks for your input.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on October 22, 2015:

What a lovely hub about singing....singing just, bottom line, is good for the soul!!! It lifts our spirits and lets us give voice to feelings that we may not be able to express any other way....

Awesome

shared pinned g+ tweeted

Angels are headed your way this evening ps

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 14, 2015:

Glenn, thanks for your feedback, and keep on singing!

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on April 14, 2015:

This is a very enlighening hub. I like to sing karaoke and I definitely feel the emotional lift both spiritually and socially with friends who join in.

I never gave much thought to the process and your hub made all this very clear. It encourages me to continue singing as I get older. I see how important that can be.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 12, 2014:

Peg, thank you for sharing your fond memories of singing and family. Hope you continue singing--your Dad's song as well as your own.

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on June 12, 2014:

MsDora, These 5 health factors are reason enough to start singing. I'm glad to know that singing is beneficial to our health.

Some of my fondest memories are of singing in the car while our family traveled from one place to another. We moved a lot. I can still visualize the expression on my Dad's face as he sang "You Are My Sunshine" and "The Red River Valley". There's so much more to singing than just tunes. My Mom reminded me recently that I used to belt out the Hymns while doing the dishes after supper. Such fond memories.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 03, 2014:

SWilliams, thanks for making me smile. I know they only threatened; they would not run away from your singing. Regardless of what they say, you still influence them positively. My pleasure meeting you!

swilliams on June 03, 2014:

'You will become a lasting, positive influence on the children and grandchildren if you let them hear you sing.' I tried that and my kids threaten to runaway from home :-) Yet, I agree singing brightness the day. Very unique article!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 28, 2014:

Kathleen, will look at some of those hubs. Love your outlook on heaven! Thanks for your input.

Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on May 28, 2014:

Could not agree more and the proof is in the number of hubs I've written as well about music. Can't imagine life without it. In Heaven, a full orchestra will follow me around at all times in case I feel like singing!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 27, 2014:

Joe, so glad you the article made you smile! Thanks for letting me know.

Joe from north miami FL on May 27, 2014:

I'm a singer and musician so reading about this really puts a smile on my face. Happy to know I'm helping and not hurting my lungs etc.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 23, 2014:

Alicia, glad you found the article interesting! Thank you for your kind comment.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 22, 2014:

I love singing and I love this hub, too! It was very interesting to read about the health benefits of singing. As you say, it's a great activity, whether or not we have a good singing voice!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 16, 2014:

Michael, thank you for sharing your singing experience. Resume your singing and thank you for remembering me when you pray.

Michael-Milec on May 15, 2014:

Thank you MsDora for scientific evidences reminding me to sing out loud regularly. Now I know what is missing in my life lately. I am not singing "solo" as often as used to. Your article has refreshed those moments of my life when singing " unto the Lord" - help me out of troubled and difficult moments of loneliness and despair. I was out there away from my family and a fellowship group family - alone knowing only godly lyric and while singing I never felt lonely and down. . . Singing remained a source of my physical and spiritual strength while working in construction, often singing the Resurrection as well as Christmas songs any time a year around, just for the happiness of my hart , occasionally answering the question what's the reason singing 'out of season': " Once you have Christ in your heart, you have joy of His birth and resurrection all the time…

It's getting late now, but tomorrow I will reactivate my sitting at the piano and singing if possible as loud as i can; and in my prayer time I will thank the heavenly Father for Ms Dora's article of manifold blessings.

Voted beautiful and interesting.

May the blessing of the Lord be upon you, so that you will continue to be blessings to us.

Peace be with us.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 14, 2014:

Mts, it's great that we can enjoy the benefits without being skilled. Thank you for the visit.

mts1098 on May 14, 2014:

A refreshing take on singing - especially for those of us (me) who is not skilled in this area :) We had a blues night at college that usually turned into someone belting out one of their favorites - I enjoyed this - cheers

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 11, 2014:

DDE, thanks for your input. Keep singing to keep the happy feeling.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 11, 2014:

Singing is such a wonderful idea I do so at times and feel such a great moment. You have accomplished a useful and interesting.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 08, 2014:

LyricWriter, so good to see you. Yes, singing is sooo healthy! Remember to sing everyday. Keep well and happy!

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on May 07, 2014:

MsDora, voted up and all the way across. Brilliant. I would have never thought that singing was so healthy. Completely fascinating. Very educational and well written my dear. Best wishes always...

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 05, 2014:

ToBusiness, your husband's singing will benefit him; it does not have to benefit anyone else (smile). Everyone has to do his or her singing in order to receive personal improvement. Just don't try singingt the same time he does. Thanks for your input.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on May 05, 2014:

MsDora, I'm in complete agreement with all the research findings on the benefits of singing. However; they've obviously not heard my husband in the shower. :)

Another great hub with interesting and useful information, as always impeccable work.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 02, 2014:

You're right, Rajan. Humming is great way to start. Think of the words as you hum. Thank you.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 02, 2014:

These are great benefits Dora. It does help to relieve stress and boost immunity levels as well.

Whether one is a singer or not and admits to it or not, most of us have at least hummed to a song at some point of time.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 01, 2014:

EP, just keep singing and those close to you my surprise you by joining in. Thanks for participating.

Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on May 01, 2014:

This was enjoyable! Singing might be good for me, but I'm afraid anyone close enough to hear might think differently! :)

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 01, 2014:

Thank you Eiddwen. We do not often think seriously about the health improvements which singing makes in our lives, but it is a good topic to explore.

Eiddwen from Wales on May 01, 2014:

Such an interesting read.

Eddy.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 01, 2014:

Mona, that's a good one. Now instead of asking you to stop, he might join in with you. Thanks for making me smile.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on May 01, 2014:

I LOVE this hub. I always sing, but sing out of tune and the hubby never lets me finish the song. Now I can tell him that if he prevents me from singing, I shall lose my health and die. SING OFF HERE I COME:)

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 30, 2014:

Faith, your singing affects your attitude and it shows in your pleasant personality You and your grandchildren are blessed. Thanks for your kind support.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 30, 2014:

Karen, you have the right feeling about about singing. Thank you for sharing and have a good singing day today.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on April 29, 2014:

Wonderful hub, MsDora!

I love to sing while driving to work on my commute and back and just everywhere really. I especially love singing with and to my lovely grandchildren who appreciate it even if I am off key. I truly believe it is so important for one's health to sing as it adds so much joy to one's life.

Up and more, pinning, tweeting and sharing (Well the share buttons are not showing up on my end here, so I shall return!)

Happy singing!

Karen Lorenzo from Denver, Colorado on April 29, 2014:

I couldn't agree more, I enjoyed singing every minute every hour of the day. I sing in the bathroom, in the kitchen...anywhere! I always have this feeling that singing helps me reduce stress, even when I'm tired, I feel relaxed whenever I'm singing.

Voted useful and interesting :)

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 29, 2014:

Audrey, meeting you is my pleasure. Thank you for your testimonial. You show what great benefits we can all receive from singing.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 29, 2014:

Denise, thanks for adding a musician's opinion. I also get positive energy when I sing or listen to a good song.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 29, 2014:

Flourish, I remember those lyrics. I bet you sing them well. Go right ahead. "Make it simple, to last your whole lifelong." Thanks for reminding me of this one.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 29, 2014:

Sheila, it is hardly likely that anyone is being hurt by your singing. Nobody has complained. What does that tell you? They want you to keep singing, so do I. Thanks for the smile you put on my face.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 29, 2014:

My Dear Frank, you are free to do as you please, but I'd really prefer that you be skeptical after you try singing every day for 30 days (please smile). Thank you for your loyalty.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 29, 2014:

Parrster,join in with the kids. The whole family would enjoy it. Thank you for your resolve.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 29, 2014:

Jackie, hope you're grateful for your mom's example, and that you see the importance of imitating her. I like stories like these. Thank you.

Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on April 29, 2014:

Hi Ms Dora. Wow, what a hub filled with authority and facts about health. I like the way you did your resources. Someone else wrote a hub on singing, so we need to sing for life. I find when anxiety crosses my path, singing changes my entire body, especially the brain. Thanks for sharing this info. It is nice to meet you. Blessings. Audrey

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on April 29, 2014:

Being a musician, I have long known that there are benefits to singing. The best way for me to lighten my load is to turn on some music, and enjoy the rhythm and sound. One cannot remain depressed after singing with a group. It is a totally uplifting activity!

FlourishAnyway from USA on April 29, 2014:

Oh, this reminds me of that song, "Sing, Sing A Song ... ." Don't worry if you're not good enough for anyone else to hear, just sing! Especially since there are health and socioemotional factors, well that settles it.

sheilamyers on April 29, 2014:

This is all new to me. I didn't know I was improving my own health and well-being by singing along with the radio. I guess that means the only people it hurts is anyone standing close enough to actually hear me sing and that's because I'm a horrible singer. Thanks for telling me about the benefits of singing. I'll keep on singing ... at least until someone knocks me out because they don't want to hear me anymore. LOL!

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on April 29, 2014:

what a great hub MsDora, but these aren't really proven methods.. but I can understand the sad mood being brought to a happy state while singing... can I enjoy this hub and be skeptical?

Richard Parr from Australia on April 29, 2014:

Great article MsDora, and one I need take to heart. Not a big singer, and need to be. My children, daughters at least, love to sing; which is odd because neither my wife or I do. I will now take a closer interest in singing. thank you.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on April 29, 2014:

This is so great and I believe it. My mom was a singer/whistler and her spirits were always high. It didn't matter if someone had died I don't think she could have stopped, it was just who she was; it is how she got through the days and life. She had some health battles but overcome them all until the end.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 29, 2014:

Doc, this is reminder for me too. Let's just sing whenever we can.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 29, 2014:

Audrey, I'm guessing that you enjoy your singing activities. Thanks for agreeing with my list.

Yvette Stupart PhD from Jamaica on April 29, 2014:

Thanks for a wonderful hub MsDora. The reminder that singing is beneficial in so many ways is timely for me. Surely, I will be singing more!

Audrey Howitt from California on April 29, 2014:

Singing is what I do and what I teach and I couldn't agree with your list more!!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 29, 2014:

Olog, I believe so too. Thanks for your affirmation.

ologsinquito from USA on April 29, 2014:

I do believe you're on to something in this article. Voted up and shared.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 29, 2014:

Bill, glad to be helpful if only to be a reminder. Sing away!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on April 29, 2014:

I agree completely my friend. I was raised by parents who sang constantly, and I have done the same. It really is good for what ails you. Thanks for the reminder. I need to sing today. :)

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 29, 2014:

Devika, what do you hear? I hope not my singing--ha ha. Thank you for your input. Keep singing!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on April 29, 2014:

I hear you loud and clear and so true of what you have mentioned here an interesting and informative hub. I try to sing along and not too bad it makes me feel good.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 29, 2014:

Word, you know that you sing very well. Thank you for sharing the good times on your videos.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on April 29, 2014:

Rachel, you're great example to grandchildren, and I'm sure to others too. Thank you for sharing your joy of singing.

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on April 29, 2014:

Do- your- thing- MsDora, go ahead, go ahead, this is a perfect article about the benefits of singing. Although, I may or may not be a great singer, I enjoy singing. It makes me feel good all over, every time! Lol!

Rachael O'Halloran from United States on April 29, 2014:

I enjoyed reading this hub! I found myself shaking my head in agreement at each section. When singing alone or in the company of grandchildren, who cares if I don't know all the words. LOL

It is the pleasure I get from singing. I especially enjoying hymns. My oldest grandson knew most of the ones he hears at Sunday school by the time he was five because of singing along with me. Now, wherever I falter with the words, he fills them in. It is true that singing builds memory power, maybe not for me with words to hymns, but in event recall of younger days. Voted up and sharing.