Vocal Cords and Health (by Mike Leese)

Vocal cords hydration

A Healthy Body For A Healthy Voice

The connection between a healthy body and strong vocal cords is something that’s well known amongst singers, singing experts and musicians. Whilst a healthy voice doesn’t always require a healthy body to thrive, it’s clear that the healthier your body is, the stronger your vocal cords are likely to be. Here are a few tips on keeping your body in healthy shape in order for you to thrive when recording or singing live.

healthy vocal cords

Water – Lubricating Oil for the Vocal Cords

The first and most obvious tip that’s essential for a healthy voice is to drink plenty of water. Since your vocal cords vibrate rapidly, a proper water balance helps them to remain lubricated. Remember, this lubrication comes from the body’s own internal system. The water you drink NEVER TOUCHES the vocal folds!

Drink at least two litres of water per day.

It is also essential to avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol, in order to keep the vocal cords well hydrated. Caffeine and alcohol are both

Rest – The essential element for the professional singer

There is a strong connection between the health of your body and the amount it’s rested. Not only does a lack of rest and sleep weaken the immune system, but it also prevents your body from sufficiently recovering.

From sportspeople to musicians, the health benefits of getting enough sleep are well understood and the strain of singers voices can often be heard later on tour. See Maynard James-Keenan  – one of the best singers in the biz – mess up the high notes on a song at the end of a lengthy tour in 2006 à Youtube

vocal cords and rest

You ought to be sleeping between eight to nine hours per day.

Furthermore, as a singer, you ought to be practicing everyday and you should take a nap in between your practicing hours in order to rest your cords.

No Smoking!

Regardless of which of your favorite singers allegedly smoke, it is a fact that smoking harms your health, body and vocal cords.

Not only does smoking increase the risk of lung cancer developing, it also irritates your throat, deepens the voice, and can lead to throat infections.

If you already smoke, you must quit for the good of your voice, whilst if you do not smoke, then pledge to abstain from the habit.

Treat Vocal Cords With Care and Caution

Your vocal cords are precious instruments that need to be treated as such. You should therefore avoid screaming, yelling or talking loudly. Reducing your voice use will help preserve your vocal cords and protect them from irritation. This is a no brainer but it only takes a night out at a noisy club to effect ones voice to a degree. Furthermore, when you are sick, talking too much can also permanently lower your voice, restricting your range.

Warming Up Your Voice

It is important to warm up your voice before a gig but it can also be healthy to perform gentle cooing and humming practices in the mornings to warm up your voice. Repeat such practices throughout the day, in order to reduce muscular tension in the jaw, shoulders and neck. For more advice, see the article on vocal warm ups.

Don’t Clear Your Throat Too Frequently

Whilst it may seem like clearing your throat is a useful practice to clear your vocal cords and get the most out of them, it is in fact rather damaging. Constantly clearing your throat makes your voice hoarse and injures your vocal cords. Swallow some water as an alternative to clearing your throat.

If you feel like you need to clear your throat a bit too frequently, you should get checked to see if you don’t have a chest infection or are maybe experiencing a dietary reaction.

Diet and Exercise

Keeping fit and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables can help stave off infections that may be damaging to your vocal chords. Dancing is a great thing to take up to keep fit, as it goes hand in hand with singing for many people – you can get cheap dance shoes and equipment from a place like movedancewear.com – but if that’s not your thing, just getting on a treadmill can do wonders. (Most musicians undertake some sort of fitness regime before going on lengthy tours).

So there you have it. Treat your throat like a Stradivarius and your voice should stay in its prime long into old age.

This GUEST POST comes courtesy of Mike Leese – Thanks for your contribution Mike!

IF YOU would like to contribute to the Vocal Power blog then please email me.

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