With mental health at the forefront of so many discussions, especially when it comes to high school and college aged students, and even more so as a result of pandemic related struggles, one fitness franchise has created an opportunity for teens to take care of their physical and mental health with free access to facilities.

Just announced this week, Planet Fitness is launching their 'High School Summer Pass' program which will provide free access to high schoolers between the ages of 14 and 19 between May 16th and August 31st.

In a press release on May 2, Planet Fitness, citing they have more members than any other fitness brand, and currently identified as one of the largest and fastest growing franchisor and operators of fitness centers, wants high schools to be able to get active at their locations at no cost.

An article published in the New York Times in December discussed some of the recent trends of general mental health concerns for teenagers, and then specifically pandemic related issues.

Globally, symptoms of anxiety and depression doubled during the pandemic, the report noted. But mental health issues were already on the rise in the United States, with emergency room visits related to depression, anxiety and similar conditions up 28 percent between 2011 and 2015.

Planet Fitness echoed these concerns, sharing findings from a study that indicated 92% of teens agree that regular physical activity helps them feel much better mentally.  Planet Fitness cited the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open's study that showed less than 15 percent of teens met the 60-minute daily physical activity recommendation during the pandemic.  Full findings from the study that Planet Fitness commissioned can be found here.

kanchanachitkhamma for Canva
kanchanachitkhamma for Canva

High School Summer Pass Logistics

The official start date of the program is Monday May 16th, but pre-registration is happening now on their website or on-site at a PF location.  Keep in mind that teens under the age of 18 must register with a parent or guardian.

Once registered, participants will not only have access to the gym facility, but also certified trainer developed workout videos and downloadable workouts that span all fitness levels.  These features will be available on the Planet Fitness App and website beginning 5/16.

Participants can sign up at any PF location in the US, but then must only work out at stat specific location.  Parents and/or guardians are not required to be on site during workouts, as long as participants under the age of 18 have had their parent/guardian sign the waiver during registration.

Victor Frietas for Canva
Victor Frietas for Canva

Planet Fitness Scholarship Opportunity

Additionally, each participant who signs up for the program is entered into the Planet Fitness High School Summer Pass Sweepstakes to be considered for a $500 scholarship that will be given out in each state, and one grand prize $5,000 scholarship at the end of the summer.  The scholarships are to be used for academic or athletic activities or programs.

This is not the first time Planet Fitness has launched a program along these same lines. In 2019 Teen Summer Challenge was implemented and more than 900,000 teens signed up and more than 5.5 million workouts were logged during that time.

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