Forget the gym! Sing your way to a healthier heart and a mental wellbeing boost

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Winter blues’ sufferers traditionally flock to the gym to get fit and increase mood-enhancing chemical dopamine with high-intensity workouts.

Now a new neuroscientific study has proven that singing for just four minutes can send the heart-rate racing to a fat-burning rate of 139bpm.

While group singing, like a karaoke party, sent the heart rate soaring as high as 153bpm – equivalent to a high intensity cardio zone.

And the experts added that belting out hits like Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ also sparks a deluge of feel-good chemical dopamine to flood our bodies.

Pleasure rocketed by 108 percent when study participants crooned happy classics such as Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars).

The study was commissioned by ROXi, a new free TV Music App on Smart TVs including Sky Q, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Google TVs, and concludes that singing is a beneficial as a vigorous gym session.

Boffins probed the physiological responses of 16 participants undertaking three different music experiences – listening, watching music videos and singing.

They monitored the group with high-tech devices that gathered their heart rate, happiness, engagement, relaxation and synchronicity – or ‘bonding’.

They found heartbeats per minute (bpm) soared by 27 percent on average, when participants performed a track – compared to just listening to it.

Study lead Dr Tony Steffert explained: “If you look at most heart rate recommended training charts, anything above 100 is what you call your fitness zone.”

The karaoke trial also provided the supreme peak point for pleasure, taking people to a higher state of happiness.

Dr Steffert added: “The singing trials showed the longest sustained pleasure indicating an incredible state of presence and flow – almost comparable with mindfulness.

“Just listening, your mind can wander – but when you’re singing you’re right there in the moment, not thinking about anything else.

“When you combine the increase in heart rate with the marked boost in pleasure and mental relaxation it indicates positive energy for your mind and body.”

The singing trial had the greatest impact on the momentary state of euphoria with an average happiness score of 9/10 compared to 5.8/10 for listening only.

Brainwave data revealed all subjects experienced an average of 21 percent more pleasure from the music video trial compared to the audio-only trial.

The study also monitored heart rate variability (HRV) – another barometer of wellbeing.

“As a general rule of thumb, the younger, fitter and happier you are, the higher your HRV tends to be”, continued Dr Steffert.

Participants immersed in the music video experienced higher HRV than purely listening but Dr Steffert’s team found higher HRV in all three trials.

Rob Lewis, chief executive of ROXi, said: “Music audio evokes emotion – pure and simple.

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“Pair it with a music video and the resulting audio-visual experience adds an additional layer of emotional and sensory intensity.

“Bolt on the holy trinity of a music video and singing together with friends and family – you get this euphoric physiological crescendo.

“Music nourishes the soul – it’s a wellness craze that everyone can embrace.”

  • To help Britons this winter, ROXi is giving away over one million karaoke microphones worth £29.99 each to new users. For more information go to

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