Singing is as uplifting and invigorating as HIIT according to science

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Dopamine HITS: Experts have revealed why ditching your headphones for a microphone could be the ultimate way to beat the blues, hike happiness levels and get your blood flow pumping this January! A wellbeing craze everyone can embrace, singing is as uplifting and invigorating as HIIT. A new biometric study has uncovered that just four minutes of singing can send your heart rate to 153bpm – equivalent to entering a high intensity cardio zone…

Brainwave responses also revealed pleasure rocketed by up to 108 per cent when participants sang along to classics such as Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars), Call me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepson) and Shake it Off (Taylor Swift) in short four-minute intervals.

If you’re struggling to kickstart the motivation to go to the gym or pound the pavements a new biometric study has found an alternative way to put your heart and head through its paces by cultivating short bursts of euphoric highs right from your living room.

Neuroscientists at Myndplay – a technology company that specialises in brain and emotion-based research – have found that just FOUR minutes of singing your heart out can send your heart rate soaring to as high as 139bpm, benefiting your body in the same way as a vigorous workout.

Akin to a double espresso, the study uncovered that belting out a tune as a group enhanced the euphoria further. Heart rates peaked as high as 153bpm in the groups observed – equivalent to entering a high intensity cardio zone.

Brainwave responses revealed pleasure rocketed by up to 108 per cent when participants crooned classics such as Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars), Call me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepson) and Shake it Off (Taylor Swift) in short four-minute intervals.

The RythymNotBlues 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.

The British TV-based streaming service backed by the likes of Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams and Sheryl Crow, investigated the physiological responses of 16 participants undertaking a series of different music experiences over a period of 24 hours.

Monitored with high-tech devices that gathered the wearer’s heart rate, happiness, engagement, relaxation and synchronicity – the closest thing to bonding.

The experiment analysed the differences between: listening to a track (audio only), watching a music video (audio visual) and singing along to four minutes of the same song. And compared the effects of doing each activity individually versus with a friend or family member.

Like exercise, the experiment revealed, the more you put in – the more you get out.

Sing for a surge in heart rate and crescendo in happiness

Remarkably 100 percent of participants, each fitted with an electroencephalogram (EEG) device, experienced an average of 43 percent more pleasure when singing along to music versus just listening.

GRAPH 1: Real Time Pleasure Response (Mean Averages)

Real-time pleasure response comparing listening to music (purple line, bottom), listening while watching a music video, (central line) and karaoke (red line, top)

Singing showed the least fluctuation and longest sustained pleasure and relaxation indicating a state of calm presence or mindfulness

GRAPH 2: Real Time Pleasure Response (Mean Averages)

Real-time pleasure response comparing listening to music (purple line,bottom) and karaoke (red line, top)

Heartbeats per minute soared by 27 per cent on average, when participants performed a track, compared to listening to it, spurring an average heart rate of 109bpm, in contrast to 92bpm.

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

“The brainwave pleasure response is key to getting an understanding of the relationship between pleasure and preference.

“Where an individual can rationalise a choice or preference; a sensation as experienced by the brain is harder to hide and much more fleeting. So, the fact each trial provoked such palpable variations is fascinating.”

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

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

“Just listening, your mind can wander “I’ve got to do that assignment …what shall we have for dinner?” but when you’re singing you’re right there in the moment, you’re not thinking about anything else.

“Reading the lyrics to keep in the time with the music wasn’t high demand on the brain, but it also wasn’t chilling and zoning out either – so the singing trial created this almost optimum level of arousal.

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

Add video for increased vitality

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 – equivalent to a 55 percent increase.

But the study also shone an important light on the wellbeing gains of an audio visual music entertainment experience.

Watching and listening to a track’s music video, bolstered spirits significantly eliciting a 28 percent hike in subjective happiness compared to just listening.

This was backed up by the real-time pleasure response brainwave data, revealing that all subjects experienced an average of 21 percent more pleasure from the music video trial compared to the audio-only trial.

Dr Steffert explains that a music video takes you “more into the moment than purely listening, before you reach this optimum high achieved by singing”.

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 heart rate variability than purely listening.

GRAPH 3: Heart Rate Variability (HRV): Solo Vs Group

Bolt on an ENTOURAGE for enhanced euphoria

Dr Steffert and his team observed that pairs experienced higher heart rate variability in ALL three trials.

Indicating that whether you’re listening to, watching a music video or singing “it’s not just more pleasurable, but better for our overall wellbeing to experience music with friends or loved ones.” explains Dr Steffert.

ROXi’s new TV Music App is enabling millions of Britons to stream unlimited music videos with all the latest releases, exclusive music channels, karaoke and music games for free on Sky Q, Fire TV, Android TV and Google TV including compatible Sony Bravia, Panasonic, Philips, Toshiba, TCL, HiSense and Shield Smart TVs and set-top boxes with Samsung TV and others coming soon.

“Just as introducing nitrous oxide into the veins of a gasoline engine can spark a surge in horsepower, watching music videos and singing karaoke can cause a similar effect on brain activity.” enthuses Rob Lewis, chief executive of ROXi.

“Music audio evokes emotion – pure and simple. 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 singing together with friends and family and you get this euphoric physiological crescendo.”

“Music nourishes the soul – it’s a wellness craze that everyone can embrace. So if you’re looking to stave off the winter blues, turning your attention to belting out a banger or watching a music video at home could be just the ticket to a healthy hit of dopamine each day.”

In a bid to help Brits top the wellbeing charts, the TV-based interactive music video, karaoke and games service is giving away more than ONE MILLION ROXi karaoke microphones worth £29.99 each to new users.*

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