Drums Alive an innovative new way to exercise

The creator of Drums Alive, Carrie Ekins, has won multiple awards for the development of her fun and innovative fitness program. The exercise modality combines large exercise balls and drumming for a whole-body workout and musical experience. Not only is drumming on the stability balls fun, it is applicable to children as well as adults.

Children of all ages, sizes and abilities can learn about the fun of fitness, coordination, rhythm, concentration and stress release.

Here’s a fun and creative way to release that aggression. You can also burn up to 400 calories in an hour.

For children who may be hyperactive or nonverbal, they can express themselves, or find peace when playing the drums by calming themselves.

The Drums Alive program Kids Beats focuses on children between ages 5 to 10. But for all of us, at any age, the benefits are far reaching. Through specific programming, Drums Alive aims to improve the quality of life for a wide variety of audiences, including mentally and physically challenged children, gifted and talented children, fit and healthy children and adults, children and adults with aggression issues, senior citizens and patients with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and other life-altering conditions.

All can move in unison to the powerful beat using music, drumsticks, balls and dance choreography. The drumming connects to people’s primal rhythm and allows them to bridge the gap between body and mind. Emotions are tapped through the expression of the music and drumming.

The program incorporates the physical, mental, emotional and social aspects of who we are giving the mind and body instant feedback through continuous movement and rhythmic flow. The fitness benefits are similar to those found in standard aerobic fitness pursuits, but the added benefit from drumming is that it increases the neurological connection between the hemispheres of the brain.

This synchronization of the hemispheres has been shown to stimulate alpha brain wave activity, which can lead to higher levels of concentration, motor improvement and a greater sense of well-being. Research has also shown a positive influence of drumming on the human immune system. Rhythmically, we are calmed by the natural patterns of the waves, our heartbeat or our mother’s heartbeat and the rise and fall of our own breath.

Drums Alive came about through the personal trials of its creator, Carrie Ekins, who was confined to a wheelchair for an extended period of time while recovering from a complex hip surgery. She experimented with a variety of ideas and then hit upon (literally) the idea of using stability balls for drums to regain her fitness level.

In July of 2006, Drums Alive presented its first certification workshops and now there are nationwide centers to become certified as an instructor.

This phenomenon is appearing not just in nursing homes, schools, gyms and fitness centers, but it is available locally. You can check out Drums Alive online at www.drums-alive.com, phone the Kaua‘i Athletic Club at 245 5381 or come out to a Drums Alive class each Saturday at Kaua‘i Athletic Club at 3:30 p.m.

• Jane Riley, certified personal trainer, B.A., C.P.T, C.N.A., can be reached at 212-1451 or www.janerileyfitness.com.

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