Nodaway-Holt Social Worker Debbie Fujinami initiated the Pound It Out program this January.

POUND® was founded by two women who wanted to put excitement back into exercise. They were also drummers and combined their passion for drumming with workouts to create the program.

Students working up a sweat during the Pound It Out session are, front: Donovan Bammer, Paige Hansen, Courtney Woods; back: Amber Herr, Lilly-Ann Embley, Trinity Olson and Olivia Leeper.

Participants use Ripstix®, lightly-weighted drumsticks, created for the program. They drum along to music, while incorporating movement, squats, lunges and other exercise.

Each 45-minute workout combines cardio, conditioning and strength training with yoga and pilates-inspired movements. The company believes the routines improve speed, agility, rhythm, timing, endurance and coordination. The Ripstix® add a 1/4 pound of extra weigh, throwing the body off balance, helping to work core and other muscles.

The drumming and rhythm also help the brain with improved focus and higher-level thinking. Studies have shown that drumming can drastically reduce stress, which in turn can lower blood pressure, anxiety and fatigue, decrease chronic pain and boost the immune system.

Fujinami was participating in a class when she got the idea to incorporate it into school systems. She works with students, adding coping skills to the program. She teaches students to manage emotions and utilize coping skills such as music, exercise, pounding on something or playing a musical instrument as well as other techniques.

“I felt that kids were needing to not only hear about coping skills, but to implement them and put them into practice,” Fujinami said.

She currently provides services to six schools including South Holt, Mound City, Rock Port, Craig and Fairfax. However, she spends the most time at Nodaway-Holt. When Nodaway-Holt launched the program, it offered the class after school for fifth and sixth graders who were interested. After four weeks, the school decided to offer it during the school day to make it available to more students.

“I want to get them to realize what helps before they get to a point where they can’t function. The idea is that they are having fun in a positive, healthy activity that they can use as a coping skill at any age,” Fujinami stated.

So far, she has noticed that several students and teachers have enjoyed the program. Fujinami said that in the future, she might offer it in other schools.

“It’s an exercise and it gets you motivated. It’s a coping skill. It doesn’t get me overwhelmed and helps me at home, too,” Nodaway-Holt student Courtney Woods said.