The Duet by James Sant,

I remember as a young man, I heard an interview with a 114-year-old man who said his secret to longevity was singing. He said you have to sing every day. More and more research is confirming that singing is good for our health, well-being and spirit, not just individually, but also corporately. Singing can provide clinical benefits, social benefits, cognitive stimulation, and benefits associated with public performance.

If one has ever sung in a choir or had singing lessons, you can remember being told to sing from your diaphragm. This gives us the benefits of deep breathing, moves the lymphatic system (which stimulates the immune system), and massages the internal organs as the diaphragm rises and falls. Singing also exercises the vocal cords and upper respiratory tract, keeping the voice youthful as we age.

Singing has a number of perceived health benefits. Singing releases endorphins, which energize us, uplift us and help decrease pain. Singing leads to physical relaxation and release of physical tension. There are also emotional releases and reductions in feelings of stress with singing. Singing can give an increased sense of arousal and energy. Singing is also associated with an increased sense of self-esteem and self-confidence. It can even improve sleep.

Singing helps give the lungs a workout and improves aerobic capacity, sometimes better than many forms of strenuous exercise. Singing can tone the abdominal and intercostal muscles and the diaphragm, increasing circulation. Singing improves our posture and tones our facial and stomach muscles.

Singing can also have an impact on our cognitive function, improving memory, focus, concentration, attention and learning. Singing can also promote mental alertness.

Emotionally, singing can greatly affect our health. Research shows that singing creates a sense of greater emotional, personal and physical well-being. A sense of happiness, joy, elation, positive mood and a euphoric sensation can be created by singing. Singing may have therapeutic benefits to chronic psychological and social problems such as depression, social disadvantage, a history of abuse, and problems with drugs and alcohol and other addictions.

No matter where you are and how you are feeling, rejoice with joy and singing. You just may find yourself doing better physically, mentally, emotionally and socially.

Les Moore is a doctor of naturopathy, holds a master’s of science in Oriental medicine and is a licensed acupuncturist. He is director of Integrative Medicine at Clifton Springs Hospital, Ontario County.

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