Ever feel your voice get hoarse after a day of phone calls? Do you get nervous that your voice might give out on the day of an important speaking event? Though we maintain our healthy stride with juice cleanses and balanced breakfasts, vocal health is a topic that often gets ignored.
The truth is: your voice is an significant representation of your character. And being the fragile and somewhat mysterious part of the human body, it is one of first things to falter when variables such as stress, illness, and fatigue come into play.
Much like stretching before exercising, our vocal cords need to stretch and warm up in order to avoid inflammation. Many of us are intimidated by this, believing the common misconception that “warming up” is for singers only. Thankfully, we can nurture our voices through these five simple tactics without ever needing to sing.
I. Vocalize through a straw
Vocalizing through a straw helps loosen the vocal cords to help reduce swelling and release any natural tension. Similar to playing a kazoo, simply practice gently making noises through a straw. Here’s a few ways to vocalize through the straw:
- Slide your voice from the lowest note to the highest note slowly, mimicking a siren
- Slide your voice up and down making little “hills” that swell larger and larger
- Pick three notes to vocalize that are close together
- Vocalize an easy song such as Mary Had A Little Lamb or Twinkle Twinkle to utilize a wider range of your voice
- Vocalize your favorite song
II. Avoid vocal fry
Studies show that men and women speak in their “vocal fry” more often than any other range of their voice. But what is vocal fry?
Vocal fry is the area in your voice that replicates a “fried” sound, or a low gargling, that doesn’t utilize the full potentiality of the speaking voice. The problem with vocal fry is that it literally “fries” your voice, causing unnecessary tension and inflammation on the cords. A great way to avoid doing this is to simply be mindful of speaking in a higher range and using your breath to help guide your speech. The more conscientious you can be with your vocal range, the happier your voice and throat will be!
III. Spice up your tea with steamed apple juice
Whether you’re a big tea drinker or not, you will love the taste of this drink. Apple juice is a great way to stay hydrated and is known to fight off bacteria and lubricate the vocal cords. It also adds a delicious cider-like flavor to herbal or green tea and makes staying healthy feel easy breezy.
You can order this drink at Starbucks by asking for mint tea and steamed apple juice (no water). Or, simply heat up apple juice at home and add your tea of choice!
Steaming is a great way to loosen up your vocal cords and give them plenty of hydration. Known for promoting healthy skin, steaming helps remove toxins and cleanse the entire body, both inside and out.
There are several ways to steam effectively but the two best methods are: use a store-bought steamer OR breathe in steam from boiled water with a towel overhead.
For the most effective results, try steaming for 15-20 minutes every day.
V. Drink water
We all know the benefits of water, but when it boils down to it, drinking H20 is truly the best and most effective way to stay healthy. When in doubt, drink more water. If you find yourself using your voice more often than not, prepare as much as possible by drinking 20-40 more ounces than you normally would. Your vocal cords will thank you!