The importance of vocal health does not just pertain to singers and motivational speakers. Excellent vocal health is for everyone regardless of their chosen profession. No one wants to be in front of an audience singing, and her voice cracks due to dry mouth. By the same token, if you are a single man and you are trying to introduce yourself to the woman you think may be “the one”, the last thing you need is a dry cough that won’t stop. That’s why today’s vocal health tip has to do with the importance of drinking water. Now before I go any further, I pray that you will receive the revelation of why our bodies need water, and how water plays a crucial part in our vocal health. This message is for everyone who uses his voice, on any occasion.
Our bodies are made up of mostly water. Blood is about 83% water, and when the body is dehydrated, the blood thickens. This makes it difficult for blood to flow through the veins to the body’s various organs (low blood pressure). Muscle is about 75% water, and when there is a lack of hydration in the muscles it may cause severe cramping. The brain is about 74% water. Without the proper amount of water, one can have problems with short-term memory, basic math and difficulty with blurred vision. Dehydration also causes fatigue and headaches. Bone is about 22% water. And without the proper amount of water in the bones, one can be prone to various bone diseases. Who knew the lack of water could cause so many health issues?
In addition to the negative side effects above, there are some that specifically pertain to the professional vocalist. Dehydration causes excessive mucus on the vocal cords, which can slow down the vibration of the vocal cords. This can limit the vocal range of a singer to that of the middle and lower registers. Dryness on the vocal cords can also cause nodes or calluses to form, which can lead to severe vocal problems to the extent of losing one’s ability to phonate. Not drinking the proper amount of water also causes difficulty breathing. Every professional vocalist knows breath is the support for every note that is sung, and every word that is spoken. With these things in mind, it would be almost criminal to deprive your body of something as essential to its existence as water.
Additional Symptoms of Dehydration Include:
- Excessive thirst
- Muscle weakness
- Dry mouth, lips and skin
- No urination or a small amount of dark yellow urine
- Increased body temperature
Now that we have talked about the effects of not drinking an adequate amount of water, let’s focus on the benefits of drinking our daily dosage of water (64-80 oz.). The benefits of drinking the proper amount of water include, but are not limited to the following:
- Aides in digestion
- Cushions the joints and protects tissues and organs, including the spinal cord
- Weight loss
I know what you are thinking, so let me clarify some things. Kool-aide is not water. Neither is tea, pop (soda), juice, milk, energy drink, etc. As a matter of fact, all of these so called refreshing beverages do the opposite of water. Caffeinated beverages stimulate the adrenal glands and act as diuretics, robbing your body of the necessary water it needs to function properly. Soft drinks contain phosphorus which can lead to the depletion of bone calcium. Soda contains salt. Fruit juices contain a lot of sugar and stimulate the pancreas. These drinks may tax the body more than cleanse it. I know that this is a tough pill to swallow for many of you sweet tea and lemonade drinkers out there, but please do not stop reading this tip. I believe that it will be a great help to you in your journey to vocal excellence.
Tips for drinking more water:
- Drink a glass of water as soon as you get up each day.
- Drink water with meals and snacks.
- Take water bottles with you to work and when running errands.
- Enjoy water breaks instead of coffee or tea breaks.
- Order water at restaurants.
- Don’t wait until you are thirsty to have a drink of water; you are already dehydrated if you feel thirsty.
- Set a timer to remind yourself to drink water.
I hope this helped you see the importance of making water your beverage of choice. As a vocalist, your body is your instrument, and keeping your body hydrated helps to keep your instrument in great shape.