Singers in a group synch heart rates
It takes a lot of discipline and coordination to effectively sing in a group. Now research from the Sahlgreska Academy at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden has found that singing in a choir can actually help regulate heart beats among the singers. The researchers found that the heart rates of singers in a group increase and decrease at the same time, exhibiting an extreme form of continuity. This effect, working in concert with the breathing patterns needed to sing properly, can provide mentally and physically soothing effects that could be applied in rehabilitation or preventive health care.
In this study, the researchers asked a group of 18-year-olds to perform three singing tasks: to hum a single tone and breathe as needed, to sing a hymn and breathe as needed and to sing a slow mantra and breathe only between phrases. Heart rates were measured throughout, and the results indicate that singing regulates the singers' heart beats. Singing requires different breathing patterns than one may normally have, which can have a "dramatic effect" on the heart's pattern of contractions, according to the researchers.
This study has led to other research into the lung-heart connection, and how singing – either alone or in a group – can affect health in other ways. The researchers also expressed interest in how running in groups – where breathing patterns are also altered – affects heart rates.