Swimming and Singing

I learned early in my vocal studies that swimming and yoga are two of the best forms of exercise for singers. Whether you’re swimming or doing most yoga poses, you’re stretched out with your rib cage lifted, and you pretty much can’t help but breathe deeply. I used to run (before my knees told me to permanently stop), and back then I discovered at one point that I could breathe pretty shallowly and still run. I find it next to impossible to take a shallow breath while doing yoga or swimming. 

But it’s the summer, so It’s swim-time. I swim in the winter, too, but it’s way more fun to swim when it’s hot outside and I can swim at an outdoor pool or the occasional lake, do the backstroke, and watch birds and planes fly overhead. I’m not a gifted nor a strong swimmer, just a devoted one. The bonus happens later when I sing: my breathing and posture are better, and as a result my tone is better. Everything feels easier. I almost always sound better after a quick voice warm up and a swim than after a longer vocal warm up and no swim. 

Notes on singing and swimming for all you swimming singers. 

1) It doesn’t really work to do them at the same time, but I’ve tried. 

2) While swimming I can: 
a. Memorize song lyrics 
b. Mentally rehearse songs 
c. Think of clever things to say in-between songs at a show 
d. Write and rewrite songs 
e. On rare occasions: stop thinking and analyzing for once and just be 

3) Fins are like having little foot motors, and they make swimming laps way more fun. 

4) The only goggles that fit me and don’t leak leave welts on my face. I have to leave time for my face to recover if I have a show that night. Don’t write me about your amazing goggles, please: I’m hard to fit and went through over a dozen pairs before I found ones that worked. 

5) I’m often ravenous after swimming and crave junk like jelly bears and pork chops even though I don’t eat sugar or red meat. I should bring an apple or power bar to the pool with me.

© 2019 Susan Anders/Zanna Discs