April 7, 2020. Dubai, UAE – COVID-19 has been classified as a pandemic, governments world wide have begun shutting down regular communal activities and ordering everyone to stay indoors to quarantine the potentially sick and limit interactions. While these measures are in the best interest of everyone’s collective health, it is normal to feel anxious and worried about being seemingly cut off from the world with no definite understanding of when these social distancing measures will end.
Since the UAE government ordered a two weeks stay at home rule, a lot of people – single, couples and families – need help to stay focused and protect their health in order to nurture the well being of the whole household. With this, Dubai-based Opera Singer Bettina Schweiger initiated a #Quarantutorial series on her Instagram account teaching free vocal lessons and practical ways of taking care of them whether for moms shouting – if they get mad, teaching their kids at home, reading books for their children, or for single people who have limitations on talking due to social distancing, as well as some of its health benefits during these quarantine weeks. It could be a great bonding activity for kids and the whole family!
Practicing healthy habits and protecting your vocal health in these times of “social distancing” is more important than ever in order to lift your spirits and reduce stress levels and what better way to spend this than to get tips from an expert.
Here are Bettina’s tips on how to protect and take care of your voices at home as well as some of the physical, health and social benefits of singing:
- Voice training is selfcare
Singing fortifies health, widens culture, refines the intelligence, enriches the imagination, makes for happiness and endows life with an added zest. Singing clearly has the potential to make a major contribution to our health, well-being and life skills.
Singing at least 30 minutes per day can improve your mood and reconnect with your body by working out your vocal cords.
- Singing is a workout
Singing gives the lungs a workout. It also tones abdominal and intercostal muscles and the diaphragm, and stimulates circulation. It makes a person breathe more deeply than many forms of strenuous exercise, so a person takes in more oxygen, improves aerobic capacity and experiences a release of muscle tension as well. Singing the short-e sound, as in echo stimulates the thyroid gland, which secretes hormones that control the speed which digestion and other bodily processes occur.
Making the long-o sound as in ocean stimulates the pancreas, which regulates blood sugar.
- The therapeutic benefits
Singing takes away your woes. Simply choose a familiar song, and then set your troubles to music. For example, choose one of your favourite songs and sing it over a minus one or online karaoke. This way, it will bring back a lot of memories from the past that helps you calm down and relive happy memories either with your friends or family. Sing your heart out, it will instantly bring you to a more stable emotional state.
A free singing tutorial is highly advisable as it will help you gain additional technical knowledge about singing and honing your vocal cords at the same time.
- Feel and sound younger
Singing exercises the vocal cords and keeps them youthful, even in old age. The less age-battered your voice sounds, the more you will feel, and seem, younger. When you break into song, your chest expands and your back and shoulders straighten, thus improving your posture. Singing lifts moods and clears the “blues” by taking your mind off the stresses of the day, as well as releasing pain-relieving endorphins. As you sing along, your circulation is improved, which in turn oxygenates the cells and boosts the body’s immune system to ward off minor infections. And it provides some aerobic exercise for the elderly or disabled.
- Strengthen your immune system
Singing strengthens the immune system, according to research by scientists at the University of Frankfurt in Germany, published in the latest edition of the US Journal of Behavioral Medicine. The scientists tested the blood of people who sang in a professional choir in the city, before and after a 60 minute rehearsal of Mozart’s Requiem, they found that concentrations of immunoglobulin A – proteins in the immune system which function as antibodies – and hydrocortisone, an anti-stress hormone, increased significantly during the rehearsal. Singing releases endorphins into your system and makes you feel energized and uplifted. People who sing are healthier than people who don’t.
To strengthen immunity, sing the double-o sound, as in a tool. This activates the spleen, which regulates the production of infection fighting white blood cells.
Sound vibrations massage your aura, going straight to what’s out of balance and fixing it. Singing the short-a sound, as in ahh, for 2-3 minutes will help banish the blues. It forces oxygen into the blood, which signals the brain to release mood-lifting endorphins.
- Helps you sleep
Singing can help strengthen throat and palate muscles, which helps stop snoring and sleep apnea. If you’re familiar with these ailments, you know how difficult it can be to get a good night’s sleep!
- Makes you alert
Improved blood circulation and an oxygenated blood stream allow more oxygen to reach the brain. This improves mental alertness, concentration, and memory. The Alzheimer’s Society has even established a “Singing for the Brain” service to help people with dementia and Alzheimer’s maintain their memories.
To boost alertness, make the long-e sound, as in emit. It stimulates the pineal gland, which controls the body’s biological clock.
- Boost your confidence and communications skills
Singing to babies helps prepare their brains for language. Music is just as important as teaching reading and writing at a young age to prevent language problems later in life. If you enjoy writing your own lyrics, honing this talent can improve your ability to communicate in different ways!
- Socialize online
Whether you’re in a choir or simply enjoy singing karaoke with your friends, one of the unexpected health benefits of singing is that it can improve your social life. The bonds you form with others can be profound, since there’s a level of intimacy naturally involved.
Since we are on a lockdown, why not try an online karaoke battle with your friends? It could be fun!
You can watch Bettina Schewiger’s free music lesson and practical vocal tips for everyday use by tuning in on her Instagram account @bettina_soprano twice a week – Mondays at 4pm and Thursdays at 8 PM.
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