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Publication Detail
Physiological demands of singing for lung health compared with treadmill walking.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
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  • Authors:
    Philip KE, Lewis A, Buttery SC, McCabe C, Manivannan B, Fancourt D, Orton CM, Polkey MI, Hopkinson NS
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    BMJ Open Respiratory Research
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  • Keywords:
    COVID-19, exercise, lung physiology, pulmonary rehabilitation
INTRODUCTION: Participating in singing is considered to have a range of social and psychological benefits. However, the physiological demands of singing and its intensity as a physical activity are not well understood. METHODS: We compared cardiorespiratory parameters while completing components of Singing for Lung Health sessions, with treadmill walking at differing speeds (2, 4 and 6 km/hour). RESULTS: Eight healthy adults were included, none of whom reported regular participation in formal singing activities. Singing induced acute physiological responses that were consistent with moderate intensity activity (metabolic equivalents: median 4.12, IQR 2.72-4.78), with oxygen consumption, heart rate and volume per breath above those seen walking at 4 km/hour. Minute ventilation was higher during singing (median 22.42 L/min, IQR 16.83-30.54) than at rest (11 L/min, 9-13), lower than 6 km/hour walking (30.35 L/min, 26.94-41.11), but not statistically different from 2 km/hour (18.77 L/min, 16.89-21.35) or 4 km/hour (23.27 L/min, 20.09-26.37) walking. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest the acute metabolic demands of singing are comparable with walking at a moderately brisk pace, hence, physical effects may contribute to the health and well-being benefits attributed to singing participation. However, if physical training benefits result remains uncertain. Further research including different singing styles, singers and physical performance impacts when used as a training modality is encouraged. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ClinicalTrials.gov registry (NCT04121351).
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