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  • For the Broadway cast of The Lion King, each show is much more than singing, dancing and hitting your marks.

  • Every two and a half hour performance requires serious athleticism!

  • Especially in the form of stamina.

  • To better understand the endurance necessary to perform in the award winning musical, we enlisted cast member, India Bolds.

  • Amazingly, during the show, she portrays nine different characters.

  • Including a lioness, hyena, gazelle and even the grass of the pride lands.

  • So you have to be a tremendous athlete to pull all that off, especially with your endurance.

  • Absolutely.

  • It's one of those roles where you have to really pace yourself.

  • I think I'm certainly moving throughout the entire show.

  • I get maybe a minute or two to rest and sit down and take a breather.

  • Before India dons her first costume, we wire her up with a high tech bioharness.

  • This wireless sensor will measure her breathing, heart rate and movements to help us analyze her athleticism during the show.

  • Now when they're performing, cast members are always in motion.

  • And India might be busier off stage, as she changes costumes 14 times!

  • Into another costume!

  • This virtually non-stop pace is reflected in data recorded by the bioharness.

  • India's heart rate averages 125 beats per minute and peaks at 192!

  • And with a breathing rate that peaks at up to 40 breaths per minute, India demonstrates why dancers have an aerobic capacity on par with elite soccer players.

  • When you're out on the stage, you obviously are exercising quite a bit.

  • When you come back here the energy is so crazy, you don't have any time to rest.

  • Not enough time, no, because as much as I'm on stage performing, I'm off stage performing as well.

  • Surprisingly, another factor contributing to India's stamina is that The Lion King is a musical.

  • And music has been shown to improve almost all aspects of physical performance.

  • For example, studies have shown that when vigorous activity is performed in time to music, endurance can increase by 15%.

  • - You're pretty winded right now. - Oh, yeah.

  • Yeah, I was doing a lot of running.

  • How's your endurance feeling?

  • I'm feeling pretty good, you know, I'm lifted, I'm energized.

  • Because her entrances come from both sides of the stage, India covers a lot of ground by making numerous trips down and up stairs to get from one side of the stage to the other.

  • In fact, all told, during the course of the show, India travels almost 2.7 miles!

  • That's farther than NBA MVP Point Guard, Steph Curry averages during an NBA game.

  • What do you have to tell people who might look at a show and think "Well, I might be able to just step in and do that"?

  • It is not easy!

  • It's fun, it's amazing, it's extraordinary but it is hard work.

  • For ESPN Sports Science, backstage on Broadway,

  • I'm John Brenkus.

For the Broadway cast of The Lion King, each show is much more than singing, dancing and hitting your marks.

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