When exercise seems like a chore, the motivation and drive to “get fit” seems to dwindle, making it easier to surf the Internet or watch a movie than get up and get moving. Fitness and exercise fans have known forever the ability of music to act as a personal trainer and motivator, inspiring longer, harder and more effective workout sessions through pulsing rhythms and favorite songs. These rhythms not only help keep the pace of a workout, but they can also seem to limit the amount of time exercise takes, working as a distraction while immersing the person exercising in the world of song.
Taking music a step further, studies have shown in the past that rhythm and drumming can have its own “workout effect” – without having to enter a gym or step into a Zumba class. Research has pointed to the ability of rhythm to go beyond motivation, but to increase the heart’s effectiveness while exercising, synching rhythms with the music and allowing for better oxygen use and an increase in calories burned.
However, if you ask a drummer, the resounding answer to drumming and exercise is that drumming IS exercise. With a reported 300 calories burned per hour, a drummer not only has an aerobic workout at his or her fingertips, but the act of drumming affects several different muscle groups, including the arms, shoulders, upper and lower back and legs. With correct posture necessary to maintain a long-term drumming session, drumming also increases stamina and can counteract the degradation of muscles caused by those who work in front of a computer for hours each day. Combine all of the above with the ability of drumming to release stress and anxiety, and the overall physical and mental health benefits to drumming are astounding.
The next time you need a challenge for your workout, or want to release the inner drummer hiding behind a desk job, pick up a Djembe or other drum and start beating away. Keep the rhythm going strong, play along to favorite songs, or make some of your own, and see if your own drumming has a positive “workout effect” on your exercise regimen.