Planet Fitness offers free passes to teens to tackle mental health issues

Most people would agree that the past two years have been tough. They’re especially difficult for teens: Many actually start in high school, or graduate through Zoom and go straight into Zoom college classes. The teenage mental health crisis remains one that adults are desperately trying to address. The Pew Research Center reported that 37 percent of private and public high school students reported poor mental health most or all of the time during the pandemic. Despite the lifting of restrictions, the lingering effects of poor mental health persist in struggling teens.

Planet Fitness, a national fitness club, is doing everything in its power to help. On May 2, Planet Fitness announced that they are opening their doors to high school students ages 14-19 for free to help not only teens’ physical health, but their mental health as well. Passes to the gym will be valid until August 31, with no issues other than getting parental permission at registration. This isn’t the first time the fitness center (with more than 2,200 locations) has opened its doors to teens. The Summer Pass program kicked off in 2019 as the Junior Summer Challenge with over 900,000 teens participating.

This unique program is designed to get kids active and work to elevate their mood. Teens spend a lot of time indoors and on social media, whether it’s Discord or TikTok. It doesn’t take much to get caught up in the infamous scroll of doom. Planet Fitness also cites JAMA findings that less than 15 percent of teens get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity per day to support their reasons for supporting the program.

The fitness giant didn’t stop there. A national study commissioned by Planet Fitness found that 93% of teens want to stay fit and active during the summer. Enrolling in the program also automatically places teens in The Planet Fitness High School Summer Pass Sweepstakes. One student participant in each state will receive a $500 scholarship, and one grand prize winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship. Scholarship recipients may use funds for academic or athletic purposes.

Various fitness equipment in the gym
Photo by Mark Bertulfo on Unsplash

By offering this program for free (also available in Canada), it allows teens who might not be able to afford gym memberships to participate, as long as they live near Planet Fitness. The mental health benefits of exercise have been proven time and time again. People who participate in regular exercise can experience a boost in mood, which can reduce anxiety and depression. Exercise also helps reduce stress and increases self-esteem and confidence, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

It’s amazing to have a program specifically designed for teens. The fitness club also gives high school students the opportunity to earn money for their education, which is just the icing on the cake. If you are interested in registering your child, you can do so here. It’s a happy and healthy summer!


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