by Liz Reid
My paternal Grandmother celebrated her 99th Birthday last month, and she has now witnessed her 5th Monarch crowned in her lifetime. So, the month of May is another month for royal celebrations and all things British. Plus, with 3 Bank Holiday Mondays and long weekends, there’s a lot for us to all enjoy!
With our new king crowned this month and the stability of our country firmly grounded, it’s a time to rejoice and enjoy the late spring and the start of early summer when all things bloom! As nature fully unfolds and gardens become their best this month, the birds sing. We can learn a lot from nature and singing birds.
The benefits of singing are enormous! Singing releases endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, which help boost your mood, making you feel great and positive. They’re a great motivator and help your mind to remember that singing made you feel good, so do it again! You don’t have to be singing formally in a structured environment like a choir or chorus to enjoy the benefits; simply singing along to a song you love can make such a difference and make you feel happy!
Singing also is physically beneficial as it gives your lungs a workout, enhancing lung function and improving capacity. You use your intercostal muscles and your core, specifically, your Transverse Abdominis, when you sing. This muscle is your corset muscle and contracts when you exhale, so exhaling for a long time whilst holding a note, gives you a fab workout.
You can also bust stress with a song. The breathing required when singing, reconnects your mind and body with your breath. Focused breathing helps to restore calm and lowers both blood pressure and heart rate. So, if you’re feeling stressed, sing it out!
Singing is wonderful for boosting your memory too, as you learn the words so you can sing along, or sometimes just hearing a tune will help you remember the lines of the song, which can then just cascade through your mind. Without thinking, you’ll be singing the words without missing a beat! Songs and music connect all of us and when hearing a song, it can release memories. It can help take you back to the time in your life when you first heard the song. So many songs have a personal relevance to us all. Just be mindful to pick the songs which make you happy to ignite the good memories and not the sad ones so much.
You can easily sing along to music on your own, in the shower, or in the car but you may like to also sing with others in a formal group, be that a choir or singing group. There are many such groups locally, so get Googling! Singing with others can be a lovely way to meet people and create friendships, which can all lead to more socialising and more good times. Widening your friendship group is beneficial for your overall health and encourages you to experience more from life, as more opportunities arise from knowing more people. Understanding others and sharing different perspectives helps you to grow and develop as a person, no matter what age you are.
With singing, your confidence will improve too, particularly if you do sing with others in a group. You all share the same experience and feel unified, which is incredibly uplifting. Being a songbird will also improve your posture, as you need to stand up straight, with your shoulders back and down, so you can fully inflate your lungs and hold those long notes!
Pilates is all about improving your posture and feeling good too. With an emphasis on focused and controlled breathing, Pilates beautifully compliments singing, helping to improve lung capacity, ease back pain and joint discomfort and build a stronger core. So, sing, sing, sing for the king this month and for your own health and well-being. Health and happiness… the ultimate goal!
Level III Pilates Instructor – Member of FitPro • BackCare Associate Professional Member • Proprietor, Core Factor Pilates