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7 Ways Taking Up The Drums Will Improve Your Life

7 Ways Taking Up The Drums Will Improve Your Life

Percussion is an exciting and health boosting activity which is noted by the scientific community for its ability to alleviate modern day stresses. Renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks states in Musicophilia all humans, “can perceive music, perceive tones, timbre, pitch, intervals, melodic contours, harmony, and (perhaps most elementally) rhythm. We integrate all of these and ‘construct’ music in our minds using many different parts of the brain. And to this largely unconscious structural appreciation of music is added an often intense and profound emotional reaction.”

Drumming promotes a rhythm intrinsically acquired from ancient humans. Whilst it’s a primal activity, the health benefits are now understood to be highly beneficial. This is how to tap into the physical and psychology highs of the drumming world.

Drummers

    1. It’s fun!

    Playing the drums is great fun. No matter your ability level, it’s a highly enjoyable way of awakening primitive rhythms. As neurologist Dr Barry Bittman (CEO of the Yamaha and Wellness Institute in Pensylvania) has stated, “Drums are accessible and don’t present the challenge of a learning curve – anyone regardless of handicap can sit and beat out a rhythm on a drum.”

    Drumming can be a tremendous social experience, enhancing the fun factor. Dr. Bittman has championed group music therapy in a paper titled Composite Effects of Group Drumming Music TherapyIn this he claims, “Response to rhythm is basic to human functioning, making these percussion activities and techniques highly motivating to people of all ages and backgrounds.”

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    2. A boost for the immune system.

    A study led by Dr. Bittman suggests drumming is good for the immune system. He acknowledges“Group drumming tunes our biology, orchestrates our immunity, and enables healing to begin.” His research has demonstrated how a group drumming session (which he has dubbed a HealthRhythm) can create illness-killing cells, which could protect the body.

    The research is cited extensively in the drumming community, such as with specialists Remo: “Remo’s Health Rhythms Department is on the forefront of establishing a solid foundation for proving the biological benefits of drumming. Neurologist Barry Bittman, M.D. and his renowned research team discovered that a specific group drumming approach (HealthRHYTHMS protocol) significantly increased the disease fighting activity of circulating white blood cells (Natural Killer cells) that seek out and destroy cancer cells and virally-infected cells.”

    3. Intellectual development. 

    It’s suggested drumming can lead to greater cognitive functioning. This is especially important with younger generations. Stanford University researched the effects of 20 minutes of rhythmic music with middle-school boys struggling with Attention Deficit Disorder. The results led to a boost in IQ scores and improved concentration. Howard Russell, a clinical psychologist involved in the study, said, “For most of us, the brain is locked into a particular level of functioning. If we ultimately speed up or slow down the brainwave activity, then it becomes much easier for the brain to shift its speed as needed.”

    Although further research is needed for conclusive evidence, studies to date are encouraging for musical therapy.

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    4. Social and creative development.

    Drumming can be enjoyed by everyone and unites all cultures and ages across the world. Drummers can join bands, meet new people, and contribute to songs, whilst through group therapy sessions people can forge lifelong friendships. It’s a global language everyone could, and should, be a part of.

    5. Fitness.

    Drumming makes for a fun way to exercise. The fitter you are the easier it is to play for longer periods of time, which provides an incentive to be healthy.

    It’s well noted in the drumming community, with former drummer for The Clash, Nick Headon, pointing out, “Its a physical activity, it stimulates parts of the brain keeping the four limbs doing something different, and it is primeval as well – drums were the first instrument: before music, people were banging things together.”

    6. Pain relief. 

    Research from group drumming sessions suggests it is a sufficient distraction to alleviate pain, even if it’s chronic. The activity promotes endorphin production and endogenous opiates – these are the human body’s natural painkillers. It can also distract attention away from grief.

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    7. Combat stress, depression, and neurological conditions.

    Dr. Barry Bittman’s research indicates drumming relaxes people, which helps lower blood pressure and reduces stress. The latter is a contemporary issue which contributes to many health problems, such as heart attacks and strokes. Modern life demands time for proper relaxation, and drumming offers a stress free activity where people can let themselves go.

    Even more encouraging are the results suggesting drumming can alleviate serious neurological conditions. Neurologist Oliver Sacks, in his book Musicophilia, has noted the ability of natural rhythms to assist people with their troubles: “While music can affect all of us – calm us, animate us, comfort us, thrill us, or serve to organize and synchronize us at work or play – it may be especially powerful and have great therapeutic potential for patients with a variety of neurological conditions.” Research is ongoing, but in the coming years we can hope for encouraging news.

    Types of Drums

    Drum kit

      If you’re interested in taking up percussion, there are numerous options available. Whilst a drum kit is arguably the most famous form, there are accessible alternatives: congas, tambourines, wood blocks, xylophones, tablas, and tom-toms. These can be picked up at a cheap price.

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      To keep expenditures to a minimum, household objects (such as pots, pans, and plastic containers) can be assembled to create a makeshift kit. This is a popular technique for many street drummers across the world. Elsewhere, you could attend group music/therapy sessions in your community – an ideal way to meet new people and get started.

      Drum kits can be expensive and won’t be ideal for everyone, although second hand kits can be well priced and are perfect for beginners. If you live in a flat and don’t want to annoy your neighbors, you could consider electronic kits. They’re ideal for silent playing, but vary in affordability.

      Useful Drumming Tutorials

      For anyone eager to get onto a kit, do note few people have the natural ability to play brilliantly instantaneously. Don’t be put off by this – it takes time to develop the required skills. There are simple rudiments you can learn to get started, which you can find on free tutorial sites such as Drum LessonsFree Drum Lessons, or Drum Channel (which offers a free trial).

      YouTube has thousands of free guides for budding drummers; there are channels dedicated to techniques and tips (such as Drum Channel or Drumeo). YouTube is also a source of historical footage of legendary drummers in action – watching them play is vital for tips. Notable drummers for inspiration include: Ginger Baker, Reni, Jaki Liebezeit, Levon Helm, Art Blakey, Joe Morello, John Bonham, Buddy Rich, and Gene Krupa.

      Even at the most fundamental level you can purchase some drum sticks and practice on a cushion at home. From here you can enjoy the full benefits of a wonderfully productive, ancient activity.

      Featured photo credit: House on the Rock/Joseph Kranak via flickr.com

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      Content Manager, Copywriter, & Blogger

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      Last Updated on May 21, 2020

      The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

      The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

      You have probably seen enough fad diets to last a lifetime. Many have become popular overnight and left just as quickly.

      Some fad diets, though, have actually passed the test of time and are making some headway in the nutritional world.

      Outlined below are four fad diets that are actually beneficial for your health and wellness. Read on to find out why you should consider adopting one (or more) of these healthy eating styles today.

      An important concept you should keep in mind is to disregard the term “diet” as it is typically used. The word diet implies the idea of restriction and removal. Instead, think of the word diet in this context as a healthy eating lifestyle.

      Let’s take a look at some of these healthy eating lifestyles that have been categorized, by no fault of their own, as fad diets.

      1. The Paleo Diet

      The paleo diet, or ancestral eating, is simply eating the way your paleolithic ancestors would have up to 10,000 years ago, or when the agriculture age began.

      The advantage now is you don’t have to do this in a loin cloth, unless you want to… The focus of this diet is proteins, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds and some healthy fats.

      In the paleo diet, there aren’t any grains, starchy carbohydrates, sugars, or dairy.

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      How Your Health Can Change With Paleo

      The paleo diet is a good way to keep your blood sugar under control. It can also have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes, and can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

      With this healthy eating lifestyle, people have also achieved good weight loss results and boast improved energy levels. [1]

      It’s not just what’s in the paleo diet that’s important, it’s what’s NOT in it. There aren’t any processed and manufactured foods, junk foods, artificial ingredients or chemical additives.

      Paleo is a way of eating that gets you more in tune with your body and, therefore, can provide a lot of benefits.

      2. Whole30

      The Whole30 diet is relatively new and owes its popularity to social media and the #Whole30 Instagram hashtag that allowed people to share and broadcast their success with the diet.

      With Whole30 you are taking 30 days and focusing on nutritious whole foods such as meats, nuts and seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.

      During the month you are eliminating:

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      • sugar
      • alcohol
      • legumes
      • grains
      • dairy
      • soy

      Whole30 is similar to paleo, but it goes a bit further eliminating sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup.

      At the end of the 30 days, you strategically reintroduce those eliminated foods back into your diet to discover any possibility of health consequences from them or even potential food allergies.

      Finding Out How Food Impacts You

      Most people eat the same things so often and may not realize that certain foods are causing health consequences, as they’ve become accustomed to feeling lethargic and run down.

      With Whole30 you get the chance to see how these foods may have a negative impact on your body. You’ll also reset your taste buds, which may have become desensitized from processed and artificial “foods” and excess salt.

      This diet will help you regain your love of food… in a healthy way!

      3. The Mediterranean Diet

      The Mediterranean diet has been at the top of the list as a very effective diet for some time now.

      For people in countries like Italy or Greece, this has simply been a normal way of life–along with higher activity levels, sunlight exposure, proximity to water, and lower stress.

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      With the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on heart-healthy foods. It looks like this:

      • Fruits & vegetables
      • Whole grains
      • Legumes & nuts
      • Replacing butter with olive oil
      • Using herbs and spices instead of salt
      • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
      • Moderate amounts of red wine

      Help Your Heart & Overall Health With A Mediterranean Diet

      Information from the Mayo Clinic shows that this diet reduces heart disease and lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Studies involving 1.5 million people demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, along with overall mortality. [2]

      With all these benefits, this is definitely a “fad diet” that’s worth the hype.

      4. The Alkaline Diet

      The alkaline diet is about changing the foods you eat so that you put your body into an alkaline state and out of an acidic state. When your body is too far on the acidic side it can result in a condition called acidosis. This can lead to issues in your body such as upset stomach, breathing difficulties, headaches, weakness and, fatigue. In extreme cases, it can result in shock, coma, or death.

      The goal is to get your body in a more alkaline state, which results in overall better health. The focus is on including alkaline boosting foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. You’re also wanting to reduce acidic foods such as low quality beef and poultry, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol.

      Pros & Cons With The Alkaline Diet

      The benefits that come from this way of eating is that reduction in inferior quality foods, processed items and alcohol. You may feel improved energy levels, mental clarity and even better joint health.

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      People also report weight loss but again this may come from the reduction in calories from junk and processed foods but this is not a bad thing at all.

      One con with this diet is that the pH value of the food you eat might not have an impact on blood pH, as your body is able to balance this pretty well on a day-to-day basis.

      Follow These Fads for Better Health and Wellness

      There can be a danger in categorizing things as a fad diet because fads come and go. People are always looking for the next big thing or a quick fix.

      The four examples above buck that status quo. These diets, though mainstream, actually can give you benefits and aren’t going to go away anytime soon because they work.

      What makes these diets special is that they boast real whole foods and the eliminate processed and manufactured junk.

      The Big Takeaway:

      Whatever way you choose to eat, the focus needs to be on whole unprocessed foods. Look for the cleanest, local and most natural things you can find for the benefit of your overall health and wellness. Your body and mind will thank you.

      Featured photo credit: Dan Gold via unsplash.com

      Reference

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