Sing? You? Here’s the 10 life-improving reasons why you should. Posted on August 16, 2019August 16, 2019 by Steve Flashman Singing is good for you. I know as I’ve seen it to be true in the lives of the more than 500 people in the choirs I have led – and also for me. Now 70, I lead three community choirs with members of all ages singing pop, rock, gospel and soul. Time and again members tell me singing has been a life saver, especially in retirement years when life can have additional challenges. This is my own story too, with music and singing playing a huge part in my own recovery from cancer four years ago. That’s why I’d encourage you to think seriously about joining a choir. But before I share my top 10 reasons to sing, here’s a little more of my own story. It started with a dream. I woke one night, sat bolt upright and started singing ‘Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer’ – much to the shock and surprise of my wife. I’d been watching an inspiring arrangement of this great old hymn on Songs Of Praise, performed by a male voice choir. And couldn’t stop thinking about the huge potential for a community choir in our own area. Within a couple of weeks, the choir was launched – some 9 years ago. Even though I was nearing retirement age, my wife Sarah and I re-opened a derelict NHS Chapel on a decommissioned hospital site. It was to be the venue for our first choir rehearsal. The word spread, people invited friends and, within 18 months, we had a choir with 200 members. What I’d discovered was a wonderful way to improve healthy, build relationships and a great missional opportunity for the church. Singing is good for you in body, mind and spirit. Which all the latest research confirms. So here they come. My Top Ten list of the benefits of singing together. 1. Your immune system is strengthened and reinforced. The University of Frankfurt got choir members to sing Mozart’s ‘Requiem’. After taking blood tests, their research showed the amount of proteins in the immune system that function as antibodies and so fight of infections were significantly higher. 2. Singing keeps you in good physical shape. Singing can be an excellent form of exercise, especially in a day and age where many of us live quite sedentary lives. Our lungs get a good workout and circulation is improved. It is also very likely that singing can increase aerobic capacity and stamina. 3. Your posture is improved. At our choir rehearsals we work on having a good body posture. This takes us into a stress-free zone and can help relieve tension and aches and pains. 4. You can end up sleeping better. A clinical trial by Exeter University and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, showed the singing exercises strengthen certain throat muscles. This also lessened symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition common to many in which they stop breathing momentarily during deep sleep. 5. Singing has anti-depressant benefits which happen naturally. As we sing endorphins – brain chemicals – are released .that make you feel uplifted and positive. Also, scientists have identified a tiny organ in the ear called the sacculus, which responds to the frequencies created by singing. The response creates an immediate sense of pleasure, regardless of what the singing sounds like. Which is a great encouragement to those who think they can’t sing. 6. Singing gets those brain cells moving. Mental alertness is improved when blood circulation and an oxygenated blood stream allows more oxygen to the brain. The result is mental alertness, concentration, and memory enhancement. My own method of “Sing and Repeat” aids this process, as the brain focusses the mind on picking up harmonies and listening to instructions. No surprise then that The Alzheimer’s Society has established a Singing for the Brain service to help people with dementia and Alzheimer’s maintain their memories. 7. Mind, body and spirit are rejuvenated. Retirement need not be restrictive. Singing in a choir helps to release feelings of freedom and liberty. You can be yourself in the presence of like-minded people also on their own personal journey of self-discovery and liberation. 8. Community choirs build community. In our choirs, we have people from different background. And because we have a common goal, we work together, make new friends and build on friendships of old, which often take on a new lease of life. 9. Singing boosts self-confidence. Time and time again I’ve seen choir members come with personal hang-ups and anxieties and often with a very low self-esteem. But after a few months, confidence and an ‘I can do this’ attitude starts to grow. 10. Developing communication skills Singing with others is great fun and builds community and communication skills. So there you have it. Singing is very good for you in so many ways and for those looking for new relationships when fulltime work is over, it is a new lease of life. We should embrace it, enjoy it and celebrate the benefits! To know more about joining a choir, or setting one up, read my new eBook, ‘Sing Your Way To Health In Body, Mind And Spirit ’. It has all you need and even includes singing exercises and warm-ups. Click the link SteveFlashmanSing: Steve Flashman What are your experiences of singing? Please share it here or with the AfterWorkNet Facebook group. Thank you. Steve Flashman was a professional singer for many years. Currently he’s a semi-retired Vicar looking after two parish churches in Buckinghamshire. Other than singing, for fun he rides a Triumph America 865, writes and records songs and is a published author.