Guest Blog Post: Mia Johnson
People don’t normally think of instruments when they consider ways to get fit. They’re usually left to the realm of artistic expression. You create music with them and that’s basically it. However, one instrument has proven itself worthy of also being called a tool for fitness: drums. If you’ve ever looked at some of the best drummers in the world, you might have noticed that they are extremely lean. This is because drumming is a surprisingly good way to get in shape. It can be a very dynamic exercising tool with a bunch of fitness benefits. Here are some reasons why you might want to incorporate drumming into your fitness regime.
1. It’s a fast-paced instrument
If you had to pick one instrument to help you stay fit, drums would stand out as the obvious choice. They’re arguably the most fast-paced instruments that you can get your hands on. Drumming sessions involve constant hand movements that push players arm muscles to their limits.
Songs that are focused on drums usually sound extremely dynamic, which means that playing them will further motivate you to commit to the workout. When playing the drums, you can consider yourself an endless source of workout pump songs.
If you prefer slow songs that sound smooth, you won’t lose out on the exercise potential of drumming. You’d be surprised at how many movements are required to keep up even a slow hat pattern while other parts of the drum kit are working. Drums are very consistently dynamic when they’re used in songs.
Even if you’re not following the tempo of a specific song, but rather creating rhythm from scratch, you will still naturally aim for a higher tempo to test your skill and push your body to its limits.
2. Easy to get into
Many instruments have a very steep learning curve. For example, new musicians playing the violin will sound horrible until they get to a certain point where they might sound bearable. Even the simplest of instruments require quite a bit of practice before they can be used to create something that is appealing to listen to.
Drums are a bit easier to play in this regard. You get a lot of payoffs relatively quickly into the learning process. The learning curve isn’t as steep as some more melodic instruments. You can start with some very simple rhythms made up of two sounds and it will already be easy to listen to, although it might be horribly boring at first.
You don’t need to hire tutors to give you lessons in playing the drums. Using it as a way to exercise will help motivate you to learn more. After all, practice and repetition are what makes someone a good instrumentalist. You will unwittingly use your drum workout sessions as a way to get a lot better at playing them.
3. An endless source of fun
If you’re a fan of rock music, drums can give you the opportunity to bring some of that hardcore energy directly to your own room. Popular rock songs often have drum patterns that are just as recognizable as their guitar melodies. This means you can get the emotional rush of playing the song rather easily.
Drums are pretty unique instruments because their focus isn’t on creating a melody or chord progression, but rather keeping up a rhythm. It requires just as much skill as other instruments, but you might find that it gives you a lot more leeway and satisfaction than most other instruments. Drumming is all about improvising and going wild when you figure out a rhythm that suits your current state of mind. Once you get going, it can be hard to stop because it’s so ridiculously fun to play them.
4. It’s a cardio exercise
The constant and rhythmic movements of drumming help make it an ideal cardio exercise. You’re using a lot of your muscles for stability, which means much of your upper body is getting a hefty workout. The consistency at which drumming movements have to be done also affects your heart. It’s almost like having a run but using your upper body for the movements. In fact, there are various studies that compare the effects of drumming for cardio exercise versus running for long periods of time. It has been shown to be as effective as playing soccer for ninety straight minutes.
Drumming is a lot more adaptable than running or walking. People of all ages and skill levels can enjoy the perks of using it as a way to exercise. It doesn’t depend on the weight and it doesn’t give you any joint pain. Best of all, it’s going to help you keep your heart rate up no matter how good you are at playing them. Even if you make mistakes and have to have a do-over, it’s still going to be a very effective workout.
5. It’s an art
There are very few exercises that also qualify as an art form. Drumming allows you to create new music while also getting a wonderful workout. You don’t expect to get sweaty while playing the guitar or bass.
When you get better at playing the drums, you will find that your movements are much smoother and more precise. This is complemented by the same kind of improvement in terms of drumming as a workout. Your muscles get stronger and they allow you to make more precise movements with less energy being wasted. Your improvement as a musician will be followed by your fitness level and vice versa.
There’s a degree of emotional payoff when you play the music that you enjoy. At the same time, your body will get a rush of endorphins from the workout that drumming provides. Together, these two effects make playing the drums a very enjoyable physical and artistic experience
6. Drumming builds muscles
Most exercises fit into two different categories. You have aerobic exercises which consistently increase your heart rate and get blood pumping throughout your entire body. These include running, sprinting, and riding a bicycle. Basically, things that require constant movement. On the other hand, anaerobic exercises are sudden and powerful movements which tear a few muscle fibers and make way for muscle growth. Just about any weight-lifting exercise fits this criterion very well. Exercises like squats are considered anaerobic.
Surprisingly, drumming can fit both of these criteria rather well. Not only does it take your breath away, but it also paves the way for an increase in muscle mass for most of your upper body. You can expect to get chiseled hands the longer you play the drums. The harder you move the drum stick, the more stability your back needs to make that movement, which means that even your back muscles get bigger and stronger over time.
The muscle-building aspect of drumming shouldn’t be understated. It causes a lot of fibers to break and it leaves your body craving for protein and rest. After a long drumming session, you should always eat well and take a break. If you want to keep drumming for longer periods of time, you might want to keep your True Protein shakes near your drum kit. Without a constant intake of protein, you’ll very quickly get fatigued and you won’t be able to continue playing at the same level.
7. You can do it with friends
Working out with your friends is a great way to get your mind off of being tired. When you go out for a run, it’s a lot more fun to bring someone along with you. You can have a chat and make the workout session much more than just a bit of running. Hitting the gym with your buddy lets both of you enjoy the rest period after a tough workout.
Drumming is no different, you can easily work out while you’re spending time with your friends. It’s even encouraged that you get some like-minded individuals to play some instruments alongside you. You don’t even have to join a band to get the whole musical experience. People enjoy getting together to create spontaneous jamming sessions. There’s something about creating freestyle music that appeals to most musicians.
If you want to create something bigger than the sum of its parts, you could become part of a band. Rock music is traditionally made in a band environment, but it isn’t an absolute must. Some famous acts such as the White Stripes, have only two members that are multi-instrumentalists. Still, a band environment can help you meet new people and improve your talents as a musician and song creator.
Drumming has proven itself to be a ridiculously effective way to keep your body fit. It combines some of the best elements of various workout regimes while also being a really fun activity overall. You hardly even notice that it’s a workout. You can consider it an artistic expression that just happens to keep you fit the better you get. There’s no better way to combine art and fitness in one powerful and effective package.