Stress and Exercise
To understand that physical activities help relieve stress and can provide a healthful alternative to drug use.
At a stage when youths like to experiment and take risks, they need to understand why tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs are unhealthy and dangerous to themselves and others.
Explain that exercise, especially aerobic exercise, increases the flow of oxygen through the lungs, which causes the heart to pump harder. This process causes changes in the body: turning red, perspiring, and breathing heavily. Vigorous exercise also increases the flow of oxygen to the brain, muscles, skin, and other organs. As a result, we look and feel better.
Explain that free-form movement is an exercise that everyone can do without feeling silly or uncoordinated. Swinging the arms and legs and jumping to the music are okay-you do not need to know complicated steps. For an aerobic benefit, movement must be done vigorously and for at least 20 minutes-the more energetically you swing the arms and jump or jog in place, the higher you push your heart rate. (Explain the heart rate formula.)
Direct students to spread out and do gentle stretches for five minutes. Tell them to begin moving (examples: dancing, playing basketball, jogging) when the music starts. Ask students to walk in place and check their heart rates between songs.
Explain that drug use can raise the heart rate and provide a temporary thrill, but it has none of the positive physical and mental health benefits of an activity such as dancing, basketball, jogging, swimming, or other aerobic workout.
Gym or large open space with basketball hoops and basketballs; tape player and 20-minute tape of lively music (suggestion: rock, or a mixture of rock, Latin, polka, rhythm and blues, fast classical).
• Check first to make sure no students have high blood pressure or other health problems.
• If the music has lyrics, make sure they contain only positive, healthy messages.
• Tell students to drink extra water after class to rehydrate the body.
Learning to Live Drug-Free, A Curriculum Model for Prevention, U.S. Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program