It is no secret that singing in a choir is fun, but did you know that it has many health benefits too?
It's been scientifically proven that it is good for your health: from getting more oxygen into the blood, to increasing the flow of feelgood hormones and improving mental health.
For a start singing is an aerobic activity (and much more enjoyable than running on a treadmill), and when we sing we draw more oxygen into the bloodstream, improving circulation.
Furthermore, research with a Frankfurt choir showed that they produced antibodies in the blood which enhanced their immune system. We tone up our throat muscles when we sing and one recent study has suggested that this can help reduce snoring. So in some cases singing might save a few marriages!
So there are the physical benefits – let’s move on to how it can improve our mental health. When a choir performs together a number of chemical changes take place in the bodies of the singers that boost their mental health. What researchers are beginning to discover is that singing is like an infusion of the perfect tranquilizer, the kind that both soothes your nerves and elevates your spirits.
The elation may come from endorphins, a hormone released by singing, which is associated with feelings of pleasure. Or it might be from oxytocin, another hormone released during singing, which has been found to alleviate anxiety and stress. Oxytocin also enhances feelings of trust and bonding, which may explain why still more studies have found that singing reduces feelings of depression and loneliness. Singing in a group has also been found to reduce the levels of cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone, thus lowering stress levels.
There are lots of other benefits when it comes to joining a choir: there is the social side, the chance to make new friends and meet others who have an interest in music. It can also be a real bonding experience. A recent study found that after just one singing class, people felt closer to each other than those taking part in other classes.
And, while we might not all be another Pavarotti or Christina Aguilera, by singing in a group we improve our musical ability and deepen our understanding of music. Learning something new helps boost self-esteem and confidence.
Why hesitate? You can find us in Pinner, Dunstable, Berkhamsted, Milton Keynes and Watford. And during this – our tenth year – there is so much going on, new songs, fundraising, social events and concerts big and small. Come and join in!