I’ll be the first to admit that I love a good night of Karaoke. It’s fun to let lose, have a laugh as you and your friends butcher a good tune, and for me, it’s one step closer to my secret dream of becoming a rock star.
Although some dread the thought of getting up in front of a crowd and singing a popular song, recent research has shown that there may be some health benefits to getting together with friends for karaoke and even a few cocktails.
Singing (on or off key) involves deep breathing which is good for the nervous system and also burns calories. Livestrong.com states that, “A person weighing 150 pounds will burn approximately 100 calories singing for an hour while sitting down, and a 200-pound individual will burn about 140 calories.” If singing while standing, calories burned increase to 140 and 180, respectively. If you move while singing, whether playing an instrument, dancing or acting on stage, even more calories will be burned, depending on the intensity of the movement.
According to a study from Japan, drinking and singing with friends helps to reduce heart disease and strokes. Researchers found that moderate drinking in a social environment combined with singing improved cardiovascular health and helped to relieve stress.
Professor Takeshi Tanigawa from Ehime University Graduate School of Medicine says, “Moderate to light alcohol consumption with high social support is good for your health. Drinking with a good friend appropriately makes you feel happy and healthy.”
The study, published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, included 19,356 men aged 40 to 69 and found the health benefits of light to moderate drinking were more pronounced in men with greater social support. The study also found that those with low social support had less healthy lifestyles such as physical inactivity, no job and fewer opportunities for medical checkups. However, heavy drinking was found to present greater health risks even with social support.
Professor Hiroyasu Iso, the study's co-author from Osaka University, says, "We found the reduced risks of total stroke, ischemic stroke, and total cardiovascular disease associated with light to moderate drinking were more pronounced in men with high social support, probably due to avoidance of unhealthy behaviors and enhancement of stress buffering."
Even though this is just one study based on a select group of males, the proven health benefits of singing combined with the concept that singing in social environments can help to reduce stress and improve health, are great reasons to keep belting those tunes. And though an extra drink or two might help you build up courage and think you sound better, always drink in moderation.