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Health and Wellbeing


Sport and physical activity has been shown to have enormous benefits for our physical and mental well-being. Researchers in this theme develop understanding of the impacts of physical activity, and how to promote it, in a wide range of settings and populations. These include workplace settings, amongst individuals with heart problems, and amongst recent amputees, with people with intellectual disabilities and in children. In addition, research has also explored the physical, neurological and psychological benefits of non-sporting physical activity such as drumming. Two recent, EU funded projects explore the impact of Men’s Sheds on health behaviours and the sexual health of over 45’s.

For enquiries concerned with Health and Well-Being Research please contact Dr Melissa Day ( or Dr Marcus Smith (


For the past 20 years pioneering work has taken place at the University of Chichester exploring the physiological demands of drumming (Smith, 2002) and the use of drumming as an intervention to improve mental and physical well-being (e.g., Bruchhage et al., 2020).

Fatigue erodes skill and for the drummer this may be experienced during a single performance (e.g. Glastonbury Festival) or over multiple performances (e.g. Blondie’s ‘No Exit’ World Tour). Research has demonstrated the intermittent nature of drumming, with maximum heart rate (Smith, 2008), significant energy expenditure (De la Rue, 2013) and high sweat rate (Smith, 2013) values being recorded.

The learning of a new skill requires the brain to adapt in terms of its structure and function. Research collaborations between the University of Chichester and colleagues at the Clem Burke Drumming Project ( have demonstrated drumming to be a potent stimulus for brain plasticity (Amad et al., 2017). Observed changes relate to the requirement of having to co-ordinate multiple limbs from the upper/lower and left/right side of the body (Bruchagge et al., 2020). Enhanced connectivity between different brain regions is of particular interest to those working in autism and may help explain our previous findings showing positive changes in behaviour among primary school children following drumming practice (Lowry et al., 2019).

We are interested in expanding our work in autism and commencing studies exploring the effect of drumming practice in ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and dementia.

Interested in finding out more about this research area or getting involved in our research projects? Please email Marcus Smith (


Amad, A., Seidman, J., Draper, S.B., Bruchhage, M.K., Lowry, R.G., Wheeler, J., Robertson, A., Williams, S.C.R. and Smith, M.S. (2017). Motor Learning Induces Plasticity in the Resting Brain – Drumming up a connection. Cerebral Cortex, 27 (3), 2010-2021.

Bruchhage, M.K., Amad, A., Draper, S.B., Seidman, J., Lacerda, L., Laguna, P.L., Lowry, R.G., Wheeler, J., Robertson, A., Dell’Acqua, F., Smith, M.S. and Williams, S.C.R. (2020). Drum training induces long term plasticity in the cerebellum and connected cortical thickness. Scientific Reports, 10 (1), article number 10116.

De La Rue, S.E., Draper, S.B., Potter C.R. and Smith M.S. (2013). Energy Expenditure in Rock/Pop Drumming. International Journal of Sports Medicine,  34 (10): 868-72.  

Lowry, R. G., Hale, B., Draper, S. and Smith, M. (2019). Rock drumming enhances motor and psychosocial skills of children with emotional and behavioural difficulties.  International Journal of Developmental Difficulties, 65 (3), 152-161.

Smith, M.S. (2002). Physiological Analysis of Clem Burke during Blondie’s ‘No Exit’ World Tour. In Blondie, From Punk to the Present: A Pictorial History. Editor: Metz, A. Music Legacy Publications, 429-431.

Smith M.S., Burke C., Draper S.B. and Potter C. (2008). Physiological demands of rock drumming – case study. Journal of Sports Sciences, 26: 1, S115-116.

Smith M.S. and Draper S.B. (2013). Effects of a hot and humid environment on drumming performance – a case study’. Proceedings of the European College of Sport Science, Barcelona, 459.

Physical activity in lower-limb amputees

Concussion in Football

Workplace Physical Activity