Like hula hooping to stability balls, drumming’s reputation as a fun and beneficial way to lose weight, gain strength and increase coordination is growing. Drumming can burn up to 270 calories per hour, and involves fine and gross motor dexterity. It is a bilateral workout that not only gives a physical boost, but also provides beneficial stress-reducing effects in the brain. An aerobic exercise, drumming provides a cardiovascular workout that can also increase core strength, while banging on a Djembe or slapping a set of bongos. It is the combination of rhythm, cardio and strength building that has led to the development of programs that combine drumming and exercise.
Drumstick Smashing, a fitness program hailing from Los Angeles, is the latest development in the drumming-exercise paradigm. The concept is simple; with weighted drum sticks, participants use rhythm as a focus while punctuating Pilates-type movements. Using the core-strengthening movements of Pilates with the natural rhythms of music and drumming, a complete workout is possible, benefiting the physical and the mental while keeping up a fun, motivational pace. Keeping up a rhythm can make workouts like Drumstick Smashing seem a little less intense, and it is the rhythmic style of these drumming-infused exercise programs that make them seem a little less intimidating than bikram yoga or circuit training. Plus, by the time the workout is felt in the muscles, the participants are hooked and ready for more. Other drum-infused exercise programs are finding the same success. TaikoFit fits Japanese taiko drums with aerobics, Drums Alive combines drumming and stability balls and the classic West African dance classes invite dancers and drummers alike to sweat off pounds and get healthy together.
As drumming becomes more mainstream via community events, drum circles and fitness programs, its benefits continue to find a way into the daily lives of people with little to no music or percussion experience. These combined activities are increasing the awareness of different cultures, styles of music and the therapeutic benefits of music and drumming. Drumming produces health and wellness effects for everyone, and it is a natural way to keep momentum during tedious exercise while giving the brain a reason to forget the body’s pain. With programs like Drumstick Smashing, the bridge between music, culture and modern living grows stronger, creating healthier communities through inventive and creative methods.