To the Beat of a Drum

At Shaker Pointe, we firmly believe in the power of continued intellectual and physical growth.  As we age, we are sometimes faced with more obstacles to achieve physical fitness and brain health.  Instead of making the strengthening of our bodies and brains a chore, can’t there be a fun and stimulating way to become healthy?  Enter in our Fitness Director, Kerry Engle and her continuing efforts to ensure that our Shaker Pointe residents stay ahead of the aging curve.  This spring, Kerry introduced a new fitness class called Drums Alive “Golden Beats.”  This isn’t your typical drum circle, but rather a new program that provides a “Whole Brain and Whole Body” workout.

What is Drums Alive?  Drums Alive is a way to get in shape to the tune of powerful beats and rhythms through drumming.  During a typical class, stability balls are held in place by buckets and each participant has a pair of drumsticks.  You will learn basic rhythmic beats and once you become more familiar with the patterns, the class is moving, drumming and dancing in a synchronized, energetic mass!  The program is the original and only evidence-based drumming fitness, health, and wellness program designed to improve your brain and body.  The class uses various combinations of not only your physical senses, but also movements, rhythms, games and activities.  These movements help to promote neural activity creating more connections between different areas of the brain and increasing production of natural brain nutrients.  Drums Alive is designed to directly improve your coordination, proprioception, balance, and stabilization – areas of increasing importance as we age.

What are some of the benefits of Drums Alive?  Our brains are just like any other muscle in our body.  If we don’t use it, we lose it!  Neurons are the key player in the brain, they are the information messengers.  Everything we think, feel and do would not be possible without our hard-working neurons.  Although, neurons are the longest living cells in the body, large numbers of them do die.  The goal of a brain and body fitness class is to try and build new neurons to increase overall communication in the brain.  Some diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Alzheimer’s are diseases of the brain that are a direct result of the unnatural death of neurons.  So how does drumming help cue the building blocks of learning in the brain?  There are three ways that exercise benefits our brain health.

     1.  Exercise releases neuro-chemicals and growth factors

     2.  Exercise gets blood to the brain, bringing it glucose and Oxygen

     3.  Exercise also stimulates the protein that keeps neurons connecting

Drums Alive has our residents not just listening to music, but playing it.  Resident Chuck M. said, “I feel challenged and really like I’m doing something for myself.  I am helping my brain make new connections between brain cells creating plasticity.  I love the challenge of trying to follow the beat from the instruction, to my brain, my eyes and my hands.  Getting the sequence correct is a real sense of accomplishment.”   If you’re looking for some stress relief and a little bit of FUN, consider moving to the beat of your own drum!


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