05 July 2012

Drumming builds up a healthy sweat

African drumming may soon emerge as an effective stress reliever and full body workout, according to researchers.


African drumming may soon emerge as an effective stress reliever and full body workout, according to researchers.

"The African drum is lifted off the floor and clasped between the knees so the legs, core muscles in the back, and pounding arms are exercised," Professor Carine Smith, associate professor at the Department of Physiological Sciences at Stellenbosch University, told News24.

Certified African drum percussionist, Bevil Spence, was used as a guinea pig for laboratory testing. He was also tested at his drumming circle in Somerset West.

How the research was done

Jeandre Viljoen, research assistant for the study, found that "in some stages of the drumming session his heart rate went up to more than 80% of its estimated maximum rate".

This is equivalent to a strenuous aerobics session during which lots of energy is spent.


"African drumming presents itself as an alternative for people that do not like traditional forms of exercise," Smith said.

She added that the approach to drumming will determine the outcome. Drumming needs to be results-driven and performed at an adequate level of intensity.

Drumming for 45 minutes to an hour should be enough to build up a healthy sweat similar to what would be experienced during a normal aerobics session.

Previous studies have also found that the rhythmic sounds of the African drum have anti-stressing properties.

However, Smith's study is the first to look at the physical health benefits of African drumming.

It is set to be published in an internationally accredited local journal in the near future.

(Dane McDonald, News24, July 2012)

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