1 June 2021

Sing a song of fitness

The Back Page

Great news for choristers, divas, shower singers and karaoke enthusiasts.

Not so good news for The Back Page, who if she lost this job reckons she could earn a fair living being paid not to sing, anywhere.

It seems the exertions of singing, already credited with a range of benefits to health and wellbeing, may rival those of “real” exercise.

The authors of a study published in BMJ Open Respiratory Research compared a therapeutic singing initiative called Singing for Lung Health (designed for people with respiratory disease) with exercise on a treadmill.

They took eight subjects (they stopped at that number because of covid restrictions on singing for reasons BP has previously discussed) with no significant medical conditions who were not regular singers.

Participants had their oxygen consumption, heart rate, breathing rate, volume per breath and other variables measured while resting and during a physical warmup, several seated and standing singing exercises and treadmill walking at 2, 4 and 6km/hr.

They found that “singing produced changes in physiological parameters including VO2 [oxygen consumption], end tidal CO2, METs [metabolic equivalents], heart rate and minute ventilation, comparable with those seen when walking at a moderate to brisk pace … This study demonstrated that singing when standing induced acute physiological responses similar in magnitude to moderate intensity physical activity.”

As the authors note, some singers move more than others.

OK, so maybe don’t give up your soccer training for choir practice, but it’s better than nothing.

The poor Back Page will have to turn to hot baths and saunas to get her ersatz exercise.

If you see something, send it via singing telegram to felicity@medicalrepublic.com.au.

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