By now most people know that swimming is an excellent source of exercise. Being in the water limits the level of impact on joints and muscles, therefore protecting them from many injuries related to land-bound sports. Also, while running focuses its attention on the lower body and weight lifting focuses on the upper body, swimming allows for a comprehensive whole body work-out. But did you know that swimming can also make you a better singer?
Being a quality singer takes more than just a beautiful voice and an accurate ear for tonality. In order to carry out those long flowing phrases found in everything from pop to opera, a healthy lung capacity is essential. Exercise in general will increase the amount of air taken into the lungs, but swimming in particular can make a big impact. The reason is air capacity is cut by approximately 75% during water exercise because of the water’s pressure on your body. This is not limited to just swimming, but also includes underwater aerobics, aquatic therapy, weight lifting and other water-based exercise routines. With regular workouts lasting a reasonable amount of time (no, five minutes is not going to cut it), the body’s compensation for the lack of lung capacity underwater will in turn increase capacity on dry land.
Not only does increasing lung capacity benefit singers, but so does swimming’s ability to strengthen the core muscles. There isn’t much of an advantage to having a ton of air in your lungs if it expels too quickly. Controlling exhalation is crucial to a moving vocal performance. It is the abdominal muscles that manage the flow of air being expelled at any given moment, so with a toned core, the breath can be stretched out over a longer period of time.
Ever hear that singers make good scuba divers? A singer will use much less of the air tank compared to a non-singer because they are used to controlling the exhalations with their abdominal muscles – muscles that are strengthened through a regular aqua aerobic routine, whether in the ocean, pool, or even a swim spa.
The advantages to a regular swim workout are endless. There is no wonder that so many athletes have hydrotherapy pools in their gyms to work through their collective injuries. However, for athletes it is the weightlessness of the water that offers the benefits for a low impact workout, but for a singer the opposite applies. It is the weight of the water that strengthens and expands the lungs ability to take in air, and that same weight offers resistance in building a core that can keep the air in. So whether you want to be a point guard in the NBA or the next Andrea Bocelli, put on that bathing suit and get in the water.