The BBC reports on a new study finding that drummers are “top athletes” (also available on video):

Burke was connected to equipment to measure his heart rate and oxygen uptake, and the levels of lactic acid in his blood.

He found that during a performance, his heart averaged between 140 and 150 beats a minute, peaking at 190, levels comparable to other top athletes.

However, Dr Smith said that while top footballers were expected to perform once or twice a week, drummers on tour would be doing it every night at a different venue.

Drummers burn 4-600 calories per hour

He said: “Footballers can normally expect to play 40 to 50 games a year – but in one 12 month period, Clem played 90-minute sets at 100 concerts.

“Footballer find playing a Champions League game once every two weeks a drain, but these guys are doing it every day when they are on tour.

“It is clear that their fitness levels need to be outstanding – through monitoring Clem’s performance in controlled conditions, we have been able to map the extraordinary stamina required by professional drummers.”

For those of you who are wondering “why would anyone finance this study,” the article supplies at least one reason:

It is hoped that the results could help develop outreach programmes for overweight children who are not interested in sport.

But while such programs might combat obesity, I’m skeptical about their efficacy. Drumming brings with it a variety of risk factors for premature death, as discussed in this well-known documentary: