Drumming fitness is something that people often talk about. With drums being one of the most physical instruments, many people assume that most drummers are fit.
It’s true that drumming has plenty of health benefits, but those benefits are also sometimes overexaggerated.
In this guide, I’ll share all the physical and health benefits of drumming. I’ll also explain whether drumming is a good workout for people looking to get fit.
- Physical Health Benefits of Drumming
- Mental Health Benefits of Drumming
- Drumming for Exercise Methods
- Is Playing Drums Good Exercise?
Physical Health Benefits of Drumming
There are many physical and mental benefits to drumming. It’s such a good instrument to play to improve your life in many areas.
So, let’s start with all the physical benefits that you can expect from playing the drums.
One of the primary benefits of drumming is that you will burn calories while playing. The number of calories depends on how much you move your body while playing.
However, most drummers will burn more calories than other musicians playing a musical instrument.
Regarding your body movement, you’ll find that certain drummers lift their arms and legs far more than others. They also play with more energy. It’s those drummers that burn the most calories.
Think about a rock drummer playing with his shirt off in front of a packed stadium. He’ll need to play hard, loud, and vibrantly. Drummers like that always build up a sweat, leading them to burn up to 600 calories an hour.
Now, think of a drummer wearing a suit and playing in a small jazz bar. He’ll be playing very technically, but most jazz drummers like this don’t move their bodies frantically. So, that drummer will only end up burning about a hundred calories in a typical drumming session.
When you sit at a drum kit, you need to keep your back straight so that you have the best control over your arms and legs.
When drummers first start playing, they need to focus on keeping their back straight and maintaining good posture.
After you play drums for a while, it becomes an automatic reflex to keep your back straight, and a drummer will subconsciously work on maintaining that excellent posture.
A good posture with a straight back tends to transfer well over to other activities.
However, some drummers neglect the skill of keeping a straight back when they first start playing. This often leads to back problems, as they round their back every time they play, and that goes on for years.
So, make sure to focus on maintaining good posture while playing, and then you’ll get the benefits.
A drum kit is one of the few instruments that requires you to use all four limbs.
While your right hand and right foot are doing something, your left hand and left foot are doing something else.
4-way coordination is always one of the trickiest things for beginner drummers to master. But once they master it, those coordination skills make a world of difference when performing many other activities.
Having a good sense of coordination is great when playing sports and doing different forms of exercise, and being a good drummer tends to improve your skills in those areas.
One of the other benefits of using all of your limbs is that most of the muscles in your body get strengthened when you play the drums.
You’re not going to become the next Mr. Universe by only playing the drums, but your muscles will get a workout when you play.
The primary muscles that get worked are your core, forearms, triceps, and calves.
Drummers tend to get quite toned in these areas, as those muscles are constantly being worked to play different drum beats and fills.
Personally, I’ve developed very strong calves as a result of playing lots of double bass drumming over the years!
But if you want to gain good muscle mass, you’re still better off lifting weights in the gym. Yet it’s nice to know that you get a slight muscular benefit from drumming.
Drumming as Exercise for Your Cardiovascular System
Drumming is a light form of cardio, and is a decent way of improving your fitness levels and getting your heart working, especially if you drum regularly and for longer periods of time.
Another benefit that comes with burning calories is that your heart rate speeds up. Playing drums and getting your heart rate up is an amazing way of boosting the quality of your cardiovascular system.
As I mentioned with burning calories, you need to be playing the drums quite energetically for it to improve your cardio levels.
If you play the drums with small arm and leg movements, you’re not really going to break a sweat, and that’s not going to do much for your cardio system.
The best way of getting a good cardio workout in is by playing the drums as vibrantly as you can with big arm and leg movements. Pretend that you’re playing in front of a packed crowd, and then maintain that energy for a good hour.
Boosted Immune System
The final physical health benefit to mention is that playing the drums can in fact boost your immune system. Several studies have revealed that drumming increases your T-cells.
These are the things in your body that combat illnesses. This means that, in theory, drummers should be quite healthy. However, other aspects of life can completely detract from that, such as bad eating habits.
It’s cool to know that playing the drums could potentially stop you from getting sick, though!
Mental Health Benefits of Drumming
While the physical aspects are great, drumming arguably benefits your mental health better than your physical health.
There are several things that playing the drums does to your mind, and all of them are good. Here are a few key benefits.
Reduced Depression and Anxiety
Drumming has also been shown to improve the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
One of the best ways to combat depression is by taking up a hobby and sticking to it.
The dopamine you get from learning and improving on something is what helps. Also, drumming releases endorphins.
When you play drums, it becomes a challenge to learn and overcome. As you improve, you’ll start to feel more confident, and that will lead to reduced anxiety as well.
Playing the drums also offers a great distraction from your thoughts, which is often what people with depression need to snap them out of a low.
If you’re feeling down, jamming to a few tunes on the kit is almost guaranteed to make you feel better for a while.
Drums are both a logical and creative instrument, and the coordination your body needs to play drums also does well to stimulate your brain.
You need to use the logical side of your brain to understand note values, subdivisions, and all the other aspects of musical theory.
You then need to use the creative side of your brain to make music behind the drum set. Drumming stimulates creative expression, so you get the benefits of using both sides, leading you to get plenty of mental stimulation.
A professional drummers that lives to an old age tends to have fewer mental degradations than a person who doesn’t play drums, and it’s largely due to the way that drumming exercises your brain.
Reduced Senses of Loneliness
When you learn how to play drums, it unlocks a new social aspect that you can step into. The whole point of being able to play a drum kit is so that you can play music, and the primary place for that is within a band setup.
So, drumming reduces loneliness, as you can easily find a band to join. Through that, you can make friends quite easily.
Playing drums in a band also does a great job of boosting confidence, as it makes you feel needed and in control of the music.
You’ll also be able to connect with fellow drummers.
Drumming for Exercise Methods
There are two popular group drumming classes that are fantastic for getting in a good workout. While these don’t have you playing an actual drum kit, they’re worth mentioning.
The two classes are called Pound and Cardio Drumming.
Pound is when you take two large plastic sticks and hit them on the ground after doing different movements.
A cardio drumming class is when you take an exercise ball and play it with sticks while doing various body movements at the same time. These classes are often done in drumming circles.
Pound is quite a challenging one, as you need to hit the floor. Cardio drumming is a lot easier to get into for beginners.
Both these exercise methods are better workout methods compared to actually playing the drums.
Is Playing Drums Good Exercise?
Overall, drumming is a decent form of exercise, particularly for a musical instrument. It also strengthens your muscles and burns calories.
The amount of calories you burn depends on the length of time you play for, as well as how intense your motions are.
You may burn 300 calories through one drumming session and then only 50 in another. It’s far easier to burn those calories when playing live gigs and feeding off of the crowd’s energy. It’s a lot harder to do it in your practice room.
So, overall, it isn’t comparable to typical forms of reliable exercises like running, cycling, or swimming.
It’s also worth noting that many professional drummers are overweight. If drumming was as good exercise as running or cycling, I don’t think they would be overweight.
It’s probably better to see drumming as a fun creative outlet rather than an activity to improve your physical health. By doing this, you’ll be able to enjoy the workout benefits of drumming simply as an added bonus!