Water is one of the fundamentals of life. The flexibility of your vocal chords and the tone of your singing voice all depend directly on the amount of water in your body. Sipping water throughout the day will ensure that you have enough fluid to keep your body and your voice well irrigated and prepared to carry out all the processes that we take for granted but are actually so vital to our well-being.
Our food can also supply water to our system, mainly by eating fruits and water rich foods. Believe it or not, our bodies can take on the water from fruit just as fast as if we had drunk it from a glass and the only rider to this is that fruit is best eaten separate from other foods as this makes it easier for our body to digest it.
Do you drink water or fruit juices while you are eating your meals? This is not really a good idea and best avoided where possible. The reason for this is that when we take in food, our saliva and digestive juices become diluted by what we drink together with the food, which interferes with digestion. This limits the ability of our body to remove the nutrients from the food as our digestion slows down. If you have drunk fluids prior to a meal, try to leave about twenty minutes before you begin eating, to allow the fluid to leave your stomach and provide the ideal environment for digestion to take place.
So, what about other drinks than water? Fruit juices and cordials are fine but, disappointingly, coffee and alcoholic drinks can present your body with a challenge! Alcoholic drinks and coffee based drinks all require more water from your body to break them down than supplied in the beverage itself. The end result is that you have less water in your system after the drink than before you picked up your beer or cappuccino! Try to keep coffee and alcoholic drinks to a minimum, particularly on the day of a singing performance. If you must drink these beverages, drink an equal amount of water to assist with hydration. The same applies to many ‘fizzy drinks’ which will actually leave your body more de-hydrated than before you started drinking.
The cells and waste systems in your body all need water to help them cleanse waste, such as when you sweat or produce urine. The more water you have on board, the better your body is equipped to flush waste products out. When you are de-hydrated, the waste systems slow down and the toxic by-product levels in your system will rise, making you low on energy and feeling out of sorts. If water is in short supply, your body will take moisture away from your mouth and throat to where it is needed most, that’s why your mouth and throat feel dry when you are running low on fluids.
If you have been working hard, maybe training in the gym, lying in the sun, or even just in a hot or air-conditioned building, make sure that you sip water regularly. Keep a bottle of water with you wherever you go and sip from it as a kind of habit. This will guarantee that you are always properly hydrated and ready to sing!
Before a performance, make sure that you have been sipping water steadily throughout the half hour before you go on stage, as it takes about twenty minutes for the water to get into your system and into your vocal chords. This will keep your vocal instrument’ well hydrated, flexible and ready to provide the best possible tone and range that you need to give your best performance. Keep a glass of room temperature water on stage and don’t be afraid to drink from it occasionally. You will sing even better if you keep your fluid levels topped up during the show.
Drinking enough water is such a simple thing to do and, together with your vocal warm up, is an essential part of your preparation for the big event!
Written by Ian Anthony