Research shows drumming is good for your health

A photograph of rock drummer Dave Grohl on stage
Dave Grohl

A study into the health benefits related to playing a musical instrument reveals that drumming is particularly good for you.

The research is shared in a BBC iWonder guide presented by Angellica Bell, who re-learns her childhood instrument, the cello, and features research from a Japanese university that found playing a musical instrument can have health benefits.

Some of the research was carried out on older adults taking drumming lessons and found that they had higher than average white blood cell counts, which are vital for effective immune system responses.

The guide is part of the BBC’s Get Playing campaign, which aims to encourage people to play an instrument.

The research about drumming was carried out by Tokyo Medical and Dental University.

Dr Victoria Williamson was consulted for the iWonder guide and explains why the white blood cell result may have come about.

She says: “One theory as to why this might happen is that engaging with music influences bodily functions like breathing and blood flow.

“Better regulation of these systems in turn might lower the chances of harmful activity within the body’s sympathetic nervous system, sometimes known as our stress response or ‘fight or flight’.”

The guide – which is available here – also reveals why playing an instrument has a positive impact on the brain and body, and examines how hand-eye coordination improves along with hearing skills.

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