Runner’s high— the sensation of bodily exhaustion coupled with a chemical endorphin rush. Coveted, and literally chased, by many. Lungs burning, soul soaring.
You know the feeling? Me neither.
I hate running. The Presidential Physical Fitness Award was not my friend; the mile is my least favorite unit of measurement, and activity induced asthma is a real thing.
While I cannot claim to have experienced runner’s high, the phenomenon does not sound entirely alien. Fists pumping, blood circulating, controlled breathing, endorphins rushing— sounds a lot like me jamming in my car.
Indeed, “singer’s high,” while a non-scientific term, does hold scientific similarities to its athletic counterpart.
Both have positive bio-psycho-social effects. “Biopsychosocial” refers to a holistic view of well-being which encompasses more than just biological attributes as it also considers psychological and social aspects.
In other words, this medical model believes health is a whole lot more than whether or not you have a disease.
So let’s break it down.
Biologically, singing actually qualifies as a workout. Hallelujah. No, side effects do not include a chiseled six pack, but the projection does strengthen your lungs and diaphragm.
Busting a tune also stimulates circulation. Inhaling greater amounts of oxygen equals a sharper brain, which equals better decision-making abilities. Maybe channeling your inner Mariah Carey will work more miracles than cramming minutes before your next exam.
Not to mention, your immune system will get a boost too. Research has shown that after singing, levels of Immunoglobin A (aka an antibody that helps fight the germy bad guys) increase.
Bring on the feel good chemicals. Singing releases endorphins (pleasure chemicals) and oxytocin (love chemicals), and if the spike of positive hormones wasn’t enough, cortisol, an ANTI-STRESS chemical is also released. (Where can I buy that in bulk?)
You know what else releases endorphins? Eating chocolate.
But guess what doesn’t cost money? Singing.
Be kind to your wallet the next time you walk down the almighty candy aisle in Target and sing it out.
Whether a choir of angels or a choir of off-tune girlfriends shredding karaoke night, there is an undeniable sense of solidarity in singing with another.
Community and sense of belonging are not to be overlooked when considering keys to wellbeing. Increased communication skills and confidence are cited as boosts to singing with a group.
And here’s the brilliant part— you don’t even have to be good! Regardless of what Simon Cowell thinks, if you enjoy singing, you’ve already won the golden ticket.
So next time you need a pick me up—a natural high—give singing a chance. Need a start-up kit? Look no further. Consider the fearless female power ballads below the equivalent of a Richard Simmons jazzercise video collection that’ll get your lungs burning and soul soaring.
1. How Will I Know – Whitney Houston
2. Alone – Heart
3. It’s All Coming Back To Me Now – Céline Dion
4. Holding Out For A Hero – Bonnie Tyler
5. Shadows Of The Night – Pat Benatar
6. Come To My Window – Melissa Etheridge
7. What’s Love Got To Do With It – Tina Turner