(CNN) — On their break from hitting the books, teens can hit up any one of Planet Fitness’s gyms to boost their physical and mental well-being all summer long — for free. No cap.
The fitness center franchiser and operator, which runs 2,400 gyms in the US and Canada, has launched its third year of its High School Summer Pass program during Mental Health Awareness Month.
Touted as a way to keep high schoolers active during summer in a “fun, safe and judgment-free zone,” the annual program is open to teens aged 14 to 19.
No gym class for three months? No problem. Included in the summerlong freebie: exercise plans tailored to their age group and workouts with certified trainers.
A Wired Research survey commissioned by and for Planet Fitness found teens want to make positive, healthy lifestyle changes: 75% of surveyed teens said they’re “ready and willing” to start working out at the gym.
For those in need of a little motivation, Planet Fitness is throwing in an incentive. Ten teens participating in the program could win $10,000 individual academic scholarships through a TikTok video contest. They have to share an online clip describing their High School Summer Pass experience to be considered.
A boost to teens’ mental and physical wellbeing
Data reveal teens strugglewith their overall wellness. It’s a key reason Planet Fitness launched the program, which enrolled 3.5 million high schoolers last year, the company said.
Around 22% of 12 to 19-year-olds in the US are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which labels childhood obesity as a serious health problem.
Kids between 5 and 17 years old should be moderately or vigorously active with mostly aerobic exercise for at least an hour a day to reap the physical and mental health benefits, the World Health Organization recommends.
This year’s High School Summer Pass launch during Mental Health Awareness Month is no accident. Planet Fitness program organizers want teens to make both mental and physical wellness a priority while their academic, extracurricular and after-school activities are on pause, according to the company’s news release.
The CDC’s 2021 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found 29% of high schoolers suffer from poor mental health — and the percentage has steadily increased since the survey was first conducted in 2011.
The Wired Research survey s found 61% of teens face mental health struggles.
Physical activity has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety symptoms in young people, according to a 2020 British Medical Journal study.
Planet Fitness referenced 2020 research from the Human Kinetics Journal, which found students who exercised enough performed better in school compared to those who didn’t.
Teens can register now before free club access starts May 15, and those under 18 have to sign up with a parent or guardian, Planet Fitness said in the news release. The program runs through August 31.
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