As we begin to get older, some of us start to worry about grey hair, wrinkly skin and maintaining a healthy youthful physique. But one of the biggest signs of ageing is forgotten about – and that’s our voice. The voice muscles like all of our muscles need looking after, with many people over 65 suffering from voice problems and others left sounding older than they actually are.
Voice is produced by many different workings in the upper body. To form the sound of voice that we are familiar with, the muscles of the abdominal wall and rib cage squeeze the lungs, making them exhale breath. When airflow comes up the windpipe it passes through the vocal cords, causing them to vibrate creating a buzzing noise. At the same time, the larynx – or voice box as it commonly known – adjusts the tension of the chord producing pitch.
As you get older, these vital tissues become tired. But something as simple as singing in the shower every day can help decrease the speed of the ageing process. This is one of the best ways to help preserve your voice, as it keeps the laryx muscles strong whilst the steam lubricates the voice box.
“Singing is gymnastics for voice” states Dr Andrew McCombe. “The control and neuro-muscular co-ordination you need means the voice is being used in a good way.” Joining a choir is one of the best ways to preserve a youthful tone, says Dr McCoombe. “Professional singers voices take longer to age as they muscles strong.”
So maintaining your youth may be as easy as belting out a few power ballads in the shower, just before your start your day.
It’s that time of year again – Quite the challenge if you ask me, but one that these folks take on board with great dedication. The concept – Stay in the sauna the longest and you win. Seems pretty simple really, but when you realise the temperatures they’re playing with, this is no relaxing endeavour. This is an event that works up a great deal of sweat whilst competitors simply sit still.
The 10th Annual Championship took place in Heinola, Finland, over the space of a weekend with 160 men and women from 23 countries pitting their wills against one another. It was to no surprise of the audience, to see the Finns dominate for the 10th year running.
Finnish born Timo Kaukonen won the men’s only event by lasting in the sauna for 3 minutes and 46 seconds. The women’s title was taken by Russian born Tatyana Arkhipenko with an impressive 3 minutes and 9 seconds.
Now you may be scoffing at those times, especially with my use of the word “impressive”. However, please take into account that the saunas they used were heated 110C with half of litre of water being poured onto the stones every 30 seconds! This makes it everything a relaxing sauna isn’t, which is normally heated to around 70-80c.
Organiser Ossi Arvela admits “It’s no fun after two or three minutes. It’s difficult to watch.”
The ex-prime minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie have decided to create their own home spa haven at their new country home in Bucks. They are planning to install a conventional sauna along with a steam room to add the finishing luxury touch to their £5.75 million pound mansion.
Blair, 56, whose anthem was ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ when he swept to power in 1997 – will start a New Labour of his own if the sports pavilion gets the go ahead. Plans have been submitted to Aylesbury Council and include two changing rooms, a shower, kitchenette and play area.
Recently, the Blairs received listed building approval to turn a derelict cottage on their estate into a two-bedroom guest house. It will be used on weekends by children Euan, 25, Nicky, 23, Kathryn, 21, and Leo, nine. Unfortunately, the submission of the plans landed them in hot water with some of their neighbours who opposed the idea. The Blairs bought South Pavilion, the former home of Sir John Gielgud, in 2007 and have five other properties around the county.
I think you’ll find the Blairs will agree, there’s no better way to de-stress than a good ol’ sauna session.