Want to burn 400-600 calories an hour without getting out of your chair? Then you might want to treat yourself to a pair of drumsticks, and we’re not talking about the kind that come fried in a bucket with two sides. Read on as our blogger explains how you can flail and hit your way to a workout that rocks, without ever hitting the gym.
According to BBC news, an hour of drumming burns more calories than running, aerobics or weight lifting. But wait, there’s more — according to studies at Harvard and Oxford, drumming can lower blood pressure and improve cognitive brain development. So if you’re not a sporty spice, try the rock star road to fitness!
If you saw the beloved Academy Award-winning movie “Whiplash” last year, you got a glimpse of just how physically challenging it can be to play the drums. The good news is that to get the full health benefits of playing the drums, you don’t have to sweat through your clothes with bleeding fingers while dodging music stands hurled at you by JK Simmons. In fact, you just need to pick up some drums sticks for about $5.00 and seek out some lessons. Websites like Drumeo can help you find a teacher close to home.
I did this very thing for my seven-year-old son who seems to be allergic to the idea of playing team sports. My son started taking lessons with the amazing Jason “Jay” Pinfold, pictured, who is a teacher and a professional drummer in the Los Angeles area. Jay is perhaps best known as a drummer for the popular Australian alternative rock band Juke Kartel, has toured with rock super stars like Mike Tramp, and even opened for the legendary Slash.
Jay confirmed all the scientific studies I had read about the awesome power of how drumming burns calories and shapes up body and mind. In regards to weight loss and muscle mass, he says, “I lost 25 kilos (55 lbs.) just playing the drums. When I was touring, I was totally ripped and shredded. When I go to band practice, I take three shirts and a couple of towels because I sweat so much. If you play a heavier type of music like rock, metal, or punk, it’s like sprinting. I’ve done recording sessions that have lasted about eight hours so imagine sprinting for eight hours. In addition to the aerobic benefits, Jay explained, “You have all four limbs going at once and you are engaging your core the whole time so it requires a lot of balance.”
Beyond the body, Jay talked about the positive effect on your mind and spirit. He described it as a powerful and unique method of relieving stress, “It’s like meditating while your punching a bag.” He added that as a drummer, “You are constantly multi-tasking because you’re keeping the rhythm steady and using all your limbs to play different drums at once.”
On stage Jay is an explosive master of sound and fury, pounding out crazy beats and electrifying solos, but in the sessions with my son, he is the most patient, gentle and kind teacher you can imagine. He clearly gets all his own stress out by playing, which makes him a zen-like instructor to students of all ages.
If you don’t have time or money for lessons, you can always go the Abraham Lincoln route and start teaching yourself at home by blasting your favorite tunes and jamming along. I would write more, but I just realized I need to get my own rock star workout in before my kids get home from school. No crunches and squats at the gym for me today, I’ll be shredding, crashing, riding, and plowing in my living room arena. One warning — you may need to invest in earplugs for your pets.
Jay Pinfold teaches at school called Join the Band in Van Nuys, CA and privately as well. If you live or visit the LA area, you can drop in for a jam session or a lesson with him. Finally, you can get inspired to pick up sticks by watching a video of Jay rocking out and feeling the burn while sitting pretty.