Is there an age at which it is no longer healthy to play?

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Is there an age at which it is no longer healthy to play?

Postby Hawker » Wed Aug 29, 2018 11:16 pm

I don't mean emotionally or spiritually...but physically? At 69 I can tell my hands and fingers are no longer as healthy as they were even five years ago.

Not as flexible, thumbs hurt a little and are stiff on some days and I have less "padding" than I used to hands look thinner even though my belly isn't. :)

I'm also a set drummer and I don't HAVE to play but I do enjoy it. But I also don't want to needlessly hurt myself or bring on arthritis or similar.

Getting old...not so fun. But better than the alternative. :)

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Re: Is there an age at which it is no longer healthy to play

Postby jorge » Thu Aug 30, 2018 2:19 am

If you are in the habit of playing really hard or loud you may want to examine and possibly modify your technique as you get older. Trauma to the finger joints from poor technique or really hard playing can cause damage and arthritis over the years. Your complaint of thumb pain suggests you could improve your hand technique a bit. Also, carpal tunnel syndrome can be brought on by playing congas with poor technique, as well as by other factors like diabetes, weight gain, rheumatoid arthritis, and hereditary factors. The loudness of playing an unamplified conga, especially accompanying an amplified group, can cause cumulative damage to the ears and hearing loss. Both kinds of damage to your health (musculoskeletal and hearing loss) can be reduced or eliminated by intelligently controlling how hard you play and making sure your technique is good. Carrying a conga over your shoulder can cause or aggravate back pain, and cases with wheels can prevent that.

I know outstanding conga and bongo players who have kept playing professionally into their 70s and 80s without serious damage to their hands or ears. Francisco Aguabella in his early 80s could make my ears hurt 6 feet away when he played quinto at a rumba, without breaking a sweat (even in his leather jacket). He actually told me once, "The day I stop playing will be the day that I die." Tata Guines was playing until a few days before he passed at age 77. A cuban conga player I played with at a rumba last Sunday must be in his 70s and still plays great quinto.

The flip side of the coin is that there is actually some medical evidence that playing music, learning languages, playing games like bridge that require memory and other activities that are neuropsychological challenges can help you stay sharp until an even riper old age than you otherwise would have. Of course this assumes you were sharp to begin with. My mother started taking djembe classes at age 91, although she didn't stick with it because the sound bothered her acoustic neuroma. The teacher even called it "neurodrumming" although I have not yet seen convincing scientific studies that prove a preventive effect.
So the short answer to your question is, if you approach your playing intelligently, there probably is not an age anytime soon at which playing congas would do more harm than good.
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Re: Is there an age at which it is no longer healthy to play

Postby Derbeno » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:28 am

Good workout for the mind and body.

Almost 66 and play for dance classes in bands and try to practice or learn new things a few hours a day. No intention of ever stopping
Echale candela, p'afinar los cueros
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Re: Is there an age at which it is no longer healthy to play

Postby Chtimulato » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:38 pm

Play as long as you can, following Jorge's advises, IMHO.
Remember Jack Costanzo recently passed away at the age of 98 !
Think about Cándido Camero, having the same age, or almost, and said to be still playing.
Last edited by Chtimulato on Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is there an age at which it is no longer healthy to play

Postby Thomas Altmann » Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:22 pm

@ Hawker: I am 63 now, playing both congas, bongos and batá in addition to jazz drum set for almost 40 years now.

I try to adjust to either instrument physically and technically as much as I can. I don't do anything "at the side". When I play congas, I am a congero; when I play drums, I am the stick control guy. I have studied hand, as well as stick technique, diligently and seriously. What really has caused problems since I started doubling, is the transition period, where I really have to take it easy to switch smoothly, without forcing volume or speed. I am almost another person, depending on which instrument I am tuned to. I tend to say, I don't play drum set and congas, I play drum set or congas. Whenever I tried to play congas with a drum set approach, or vice versa, I ran the risk of hurting myself (and not sounding good).

@ Jorge: Thank you for your expert tips!

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Re: Is there an age at which it is no longer healthy to play

Postby Greensail » Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:00 pm

Great suggestions. I'm 62 and play more than I ever have. Now I regularly wish to have a 25 yr old body - I'm thinking building muscle memory would come a lot quicker. Technique is paramount to prevent injury. But no way would I stop if I'm still able - too much fun and a few hours on the congas, whether alone or jamming with my mates, is true therapy for my head. As my son has me - "What are you waiting / saving it for?"
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Re: Is there an age at which it is no longer healthy to play

Postby westgl33 » Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:15 pm

I am 56 and just started Playing Congas. I was Concerned with hit /impact on a drum with my hand and causing Hand Trauma or Inflammation. Especially since I have been pain free for a couple of years now. I had a Great deal of Pain in back muscles and arthritic Pain. That is all Gone Now, I hate to reintroduce more Inflammation, But Grounding is Very good at Healing at a Very Fast accelerated Rate.
Until I found Earthing, it Kills the Inflammation that damages the Localized trauma area.
It has cured me of my Pain, Stiffness, and increased my range of movement. Earthing Deals with the bodies Bio-Electrical system, to Balance it. I see so many testimonials of people with all kinds of problems and Pain. Diabetes pain Arthritic Pain that is either greatly reduced or GONE! after they start Earthing. I can only speak for myself and my Wife. My or Our pain is GONE all of it. Also My sleep Improved Much deeper sleep more restful & restorative sleep. It was a Life changer to someone that has PAIN from Inflammation. Striking a Drum causes Inflammation, and Grounding/Earthing Gets rid of it. It is so simple and You get for Free. I mention this because it has so greatly effected my life, I want to share this method of curing so many ailments, maybe some you dont know you have. The Blood is greatly improved Bio-electrically, i dont see how someone that is earthing daily while sleeping could have a Heart attack or stroke, it seems Impossible to me.
One thing I should Mention though For People on Medications Like Blood Thinners, Blood Sugar, Thyroid. Earthing Increases those functions By a large amount, so people on those meds should Contact a Doctor First. My Wife takes Thyroid Med. after she started sleeping Grounded she started feeling bad, But Knowing that Earthing would increase her thyroid Function we were able to cut her pill in half next day and from there on she was Great. Pro Athletes use Grounding to eliminate Pain get rid of inflammation, and Heal Really FAST!!.
Our Bodies Produce Inflammation and Grounding gets rid of it. The USA Cycle Team in the Olympics in the Tour De France, for those several Years where the USA team was undefeated the Doctor over the USA team Found that Grounding Sped up Healing at a really Fast Rate, by getting rid of the Inflammation the Body heals Very Fast. The Article is very interesting.

I am Sold on Grounding, It is like a anti aging Cure for me and my wife. We Sleep Grounded Every Night to get better sleep and eliminate Inflammation & Pain and have full range of movement what a Life changer.
Please do you Own research.

I thought I would pass along this Info. as so many people have Not heard of Earthing/Grounding and all its healing properties.
Last edited by westgl33 on Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Is there an age at which it is no longer healthy to play

Postby westgl33 » Thu Oct 18, 2018 8:29 pm

I read the Book, "Earthing the Most Important Health discovery Ever!" is the Name of the book. For Me I have to agree with that title of the book.
This article tells how it works But Not a lot of info. ... itis-pain/
this discusses arthritis and Earthing

A lot of info here,

athletic recovery USA team tour de france ... -recovery/

Video of USA cycle team Tour de france doctor speaking about Grounding,
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Re: Is there an age at which it is no longer healthy to play

Postby Whopbamboom » Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:33 pm

I need to get out and earth more myself. Think I'll do that today.

What I regularly take for anti-inflammation is:

--noni juice
--tart cherry juice
--magnesium (epsom salt baths, and higher-quality magnesium chelate capsules orally)
--cumin/circumin/turmeric (curry is a good source, but I also take it in capsule form and add these spices to my food... even in very tiny doses on food that I don't actually want to taste it in). An occasional heavy hit of curried food is also good... I do that 2x a month.

Also, a real big deal--I also do not eat inflammatory food! That's stuff like processed food with all the crazy chemicals in it, either as an ingredient, or as left-over residues from the chemical processing. I didn't used to care what I ate, until I got sick. Now I stick to organically grown, non-gmo whole foods without the pesticides, chemicals, heavy processing, artificial ingredients, dyes, preservatives, etc. I also no longer cook on teflon or microwave my food. Or drink alcohol or smoke or take any form of drug--prescription or over-the-counter. I limit my meat intake, and I avoid high-gluten food such as modern hybridized wheat (ancient wheats seem to be just fine). I also try to limit wi-fi or other forms of RF. I am now 50 and feel better than I did at 25. But 15 years ago at age 35, I felt like I could be 65...

I also stay very physically active, as I intend to stay youthful like I am now.

At any rate, I don't expect arthritis since I am taking care of my health now.
But thank you for reminding me to do some grounding... that's something I know about, but neglect to do. I should go stand in the yard with my bare feet now...
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