People with lung conditions urged to sing Christmas carols to improve breathing
People with lung conditions are being urged to sing Christmas carols to help improve their breathing.
A consensus statement agreed by doctors, physiotherapists, nurses, psychologists and music therapists, follows a review of evidence that suggests singing helps people develop deeper and more controlled breathing.
Someone with a condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) - thought to affect three million people in the UK - will often need to take constant top-up breaths from their upper chest.
But singing can increase lung capacity and strengthen muscles, which can lead to more confident and controlled breathing, according to the British Lung Foundation, which runs "singing for lung health" groups around the country.
Dr Nicholas Hopkinson, a reader in respiratory medicine at Imperial College London, said of the new research review: "Patients consistently report singing for breathing helps them cope with their lung condition better.
"This research reveals increasing evidence that singing regularly as part of a group has the potential to improve health-related quality of life, particularly related to physical health, and levels of anxiety without causing side effects.
"The festive singing season is the perfect opportunity for those living with a lung condition to join a group and do some indoor carol singing. It's a fun way to socialise and exercise your lungs."
A poll of British Lung Foundation (BLF) singing leaders also identified the top five carols for lung health.
The popular festive songs were chosen because they do not have too large of a range, they have long phrases to extend out breath and pauses which allow time for singers to inhale.
The songs are Silent Night, Winter Wonderland, White Christmas, When A Child Is Born and Let It Snow.