Battling Stress and Anxiety with Exercise
In my community, there are a lot of kids who struggle with stress or anxiety, accompanied by learning disabilities. Being one of those kids, I find it crucial to take breaks from our hectic schedules. I am a big advocate for physical activity, and it is proven that exercise is one of the most efficient ways to improve mental health. A quote from helpguide.org states that “Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD, and more. It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood”. Having experienced focusing and other issues in my education, I think students at my school could benefit from more regular exercise. This is a short video on the science behind why exercise helps with stress and anxiety.
My audience is the students at my school. I want to directly reply to their needs. Specifically, the students who are extremely stressed and anxious, and need breaks throughout the day. I think by promoting exercise, it would lead to an overall healthier lifestyle for my community. The majority of the student body does not use regular exercise as stress relief, and they resort to unhealthy methods. They choose to ignore their stress and try to distract themselves, instead of taking a proactive and successful approach, like exercise.
I plan to create an intramural program at my school. For anyone who does not know what these programs are, they are organized athletic events during lunch or free time throughout the day. Teams are created with students and they compete against each other, creating a tournament. My public middle school had one of these programs, and it was a fun way to stay active, while also building relationships with peers. Intramurals were one of the activities students were most excited about, and I think some sort of program like this could become an integral part of my high school community as well. It fosters healthy competition, and I think it could be the cornerstone for making school days more manageable and exciting. My school doesn’t have Physical Education (P.E.), so there are limited opportunities throughout the day to get exercise. By promoting this program the students will be able to relieve stress in a healthy way, opposed to other, less successful methods, as seen in the pie chart.
My next step is to educate the student body on the benefits of physical activity on mental health. I think it is important to give the reasoning behind creating this program, so students understand the goal. Obviously, there will also be time to plan the logistics of it and make sure everything can run smoothly. This is the phase I am still in currently, and I will be speaking to administrators to figure out the best way to approach building the Intramural program. Also, I plan to communicate with my peers to make sure the program reflects their needs and interests. For example, I will be creating a survey of all the different sports they would be interested in participating in. I really want the program to come from the students, and that will be my main concern in the early stages of planning.