If you are not a big fan of the gym, preferring more civilized pursuits… then research from Sahlgrenska Academy will get you singing with delight, quite literally.
The Swedish team have discovered tralla lala laling together in a choir, does not just create pleasing music for the ears that behold it. It is creates harmonious heart beats for the singers too.
And hearts that are beating together, have a powerful presence, contributing to heart health.
The body’s musical score
Most of us know music has the capacity to alter our mindsets, the mindset created depends on the type of the music, as well as personal preferences.
But, the heart is also tuned into music.
The tuning in arises because of the RSA. The RSA is the respiratory sinus arrhythmia, which is fancy physiological speak that describes the fact that your heart rate and breathing rate are biologically connected.
Slow one and the other responds, proportionately.
High schoolers singing in unison
To explore the phenomenon more, the research team were serenaded by the Hvitfeltska High School choir.
Prior to the concert, the fifteen members of the choir were hooked up to heart monitoring equipment, so that as they sung their heart activity was recorded.
The entertainment included a little humming, a little chanting and a hymn. The singing session did not start immediately, so the heart activity was also recorded a little before and after the recital.
This activity served as the baseline to compare the effects of the singing interludes.
Hearts jumping all over the place
When the choir members just chilled – their heart rates jumped all about.
The warming up, humming session was also pretty chaotic too. But when the choir master snapped the batton to begin the REAL singing and chanting – both voices and hearts quickly got in synch.
The heart rates bounced along in unison. Slowing and speeding up with the beat melody.
Singing is like yoga
As the team analysed the heart fox-trot, they found the heart rhythms were not tracking the actual beat of the music, but when the choir members took a breath.
Singing and chanting require collective breathing. To hold the tune, everyone breathes to the tune.
Humming and chilling do not require you to take a breath at a particular moment, you breath when you feel like it.
Singing titillates the vagus nerve
The part of the nervous system which “worries” about breathing is the vagus nerve.
The vagus nerve forms part of the autonomic nervous system, which are nerves that twitch without any conscious effort. Singing is firing up the side of the autonomic nervous system which is going about the normal day to day living, the so called live and let live response – the relaxed calm, take it easy side of things.
This is the side of things YOU WANT running the show.
Calm your nerves at choir practise
Singing together means breathing together. And breathing is good for the nerves.
It calms you down. Leaving your heart beating on an even keel. Lowered heart rate variability is a sign of a happy, healthy heart.
So get tralla lala laling.
Angels or cats ? It doesn’t matter
Too you. It probably matters to the rest of the choir.
If you really cannot hold a note, joining a choir might be a challenge, but you will still find singing beneficial, maybe restrict your singing to the bath.
And most importantly, remember to breathe.
PS. A song just before your annual blood pressure check-up, might just save the day.
|Volunteering creates a little slack in tight blood vessels||Sea breezes may not be what your heart desires||Suffering from high blood pressure – you need a vampire ?|
Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below