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Sing Along for Health
Posted: 11/1/2013 | Wellness Comments
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Years ago when I first moved to New York City, I was known in the industry as a “triple threat” because I could act, dance and sing. I’ve moved on in life, but I’m occasionally asked to sing at friends’ weddings and funerals, and of course my favorite venues today are the car and the shower. I love singing alone, but there’s something really special about singing with other people. You may have felt it when singing in a church, temple or community event. The voices blend like ribbons of a kite, flying through the air. It’s an experience of creativity and synergy as the sounds dance together.

It was nice to hear, then, that singing in groups is good for the heart. A Swedish study found that when choir members sing together, their hearts speed up and slow down together. When our breathing and heart rate are synchronized, our circulation and cardiovascular health improve. As with yoga and meditation, singing requires slow and controlled breathing. The quick inhale between words that singing requires, combined with the slow exhale as we sing, creates “respiratory sinus arrhythmia.” RSA is beneficial to us because it decreases stress by relaxing the nervous system, making us less vulnerable to disease.

Singing also produces oxytocin, the heart-opening, bonding hormone that mothers experience during nursing and people experience after sex. As you sing with a group, you bond not only through blending voices and sensitive listening, but you bond through your physiology as well. Singing together creates a shared experience that at once calms us and keeps us present in the moment. No wonder so many people are faithful to choir practice; it feels great!

You don’t have to be a trained singer with a beautiful voice to reap the benefits of group singing. You can sing along to the radio with your kids in the car, go caroling during the holidays, or organize a sing-a-long party with friends. It’s not important that you sound like a rock star, but that you enjoy a beautiful shared experience with friends.

How has singing along benefitted you? Please share your comments; they make a difference for all of us!

For further information on accessing your wisdom, happiness, fulfillment, and peace you desire, click here to learn about Dr. Howard's Multiple Award Winning Book "Your Ultimate Life Plan: How to Deeply Transform Your Everyday Experience and Create Changes That Last."


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