05-08 HEALTH Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness’ Teen Summer Challenge provides an opportunity for teenagers to stay active and healthy during the summer. (Courtesy Photo)

HAMPTON — Planet Fitness, Inc., is inviting high school teenagers, 15-18, to work out for free at any of its locations from May 15 through Sept. 1, as part of its nationwide Teen Summer Challenge.

The nationwide launch builds on last summer’s successful pilot program in New Hampshire, which saw more than 2,500 teens log nearly 12,000 gym visits at the state’s 18 Planet Fitness locations throughout the program’s duration, from June 26 through Sept. 1.

All teens who sign up, beginning May 15, are automatically entered into Planet Fitness’ Scholarship Sweepstakes. By the end of summer, 51 teens across all 50 states and Washington, D.C., will be randomly selected to receive a scholarship toward academics or athletics, including one $5,000 grand prize.

Teens also have a chance to win prizes on Planet Fitness’ Twitter and Instagram channels throughout the summer, such as club swag, movie tickets and wireless headphones.

To sign up, visit a nearby Planet Fitness, beginning May 15. Teens under 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian at signup.

Focus on teen health

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released new physical activity guidelines, revealing that 80 percent of Americans do not meet the recommended amount of physical activity. The guidelines also challenge youths, ages 6-17, to pursue a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day.

According to 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey, more than 75 percent of New Hampshire high school students are not getting the recommended 60 minutes of activity each day; and more than one in four New Hampshire high school students were overweight or obese.

Planet Fitness’ Teen Summer Challenge offers a solution for teenagers eager for an opportunity to stay active and healthy during the summer when school sports programs, gym classes or after-school activities wind down.

“Teens today are under ever-increasing pressure to succeed academically and socially, battle a growing list of responsibilities both inside and outside the classroom and become well-rounded members of their community,” said Chris Rondeau, chief executive officer at Planet Fitness. “At Planet Fitness, a healthy and active lifestyle should never be a challenge — which is why we’re launching the nationwide Teen Summer Challenge. We want to give teens the chance to stay active when school is out — a time when they may not otherwise have access to organized fitness or athletic programs, which is why we’re offering a safe space to exercise for free and spend time with their friends all summer long.”

By the Numbers

To uncover how teens ages 15-18 view fitness today, Planet Fitness commissioned a national study that sheds light on how teens and parents feel about health and wellness, and how best to motivate youths to pursue an active lifestyle and set them up for success throughout adulthood. Key findings include:

Wellness is On the Brain. Today’s teens are more health-conscious than ever before, seeing exercise as not only a way to stay in shape, but believing that — among those who work out already — it positively impacts their mental health (72 percent) and focus on schoolwork (62 percent).

However, nearly half of all teens (42 percent) lack a positive body image, noting they’re self-conscious and have trouble finding the confidence to try something physically challenging.

With two in five (41 percent) of today’s teens battling anxiety and body image issues, many teenagers are recognizing that exercise may be the answer. Those who work out note they feel more confident (47 percent) and happier (43 percent) in addition to feeling less stressed (37 percent) and anxious (24 percent).

Schedules Booked. Nearly three in five (57 percent) of teens surveyed say that, between school and extracurricular activities, they do not have enough time to make exercise a part of their daily routine — a sentiment also shared by more than one-third (36 percent) of teens’ parents, who feel today’s youths have fewer opportunities to exercise on a daily basis than they did a generation ago.

Not surprisingly, more than two in five (41 percent) report that their fitness levels decrease over the summer when school is out.

That said, nearly all (91 percent) agree that they want to stay healthy and active over the summer.

Having Access Doesn’t Compel Action. Parents and teens (50 and 54 percent, respectively) agree teens have greater access and options to exercise than previous generations, but almost two in five teens (39 percent) say they don’t have enough guidance on how to exercise or where to even start (36 percent), which may be why 39 percent feel negatively towards fitness.

Exercise Your Body, Not Just Your Fingers. When asked how they’d prefer to spend their free time, more than one-third (36 percent) of teens wished to exercise or work out more (regardless of school schedules), which is greater than the number of teens who want to spend more time playing video games (27 percent), browsing social media (16 percent) or watching TV (16 percent).

All-Star Students. Working out works to teens’ advantages, too, as fitness can be a secret recipe for straight A's. In fact, among surveyed teens who see improvements based on exercise (91 percent), two in five (40 percent) have reported that exercise helps them to find more focus, with 23 percent directly attributing it to making them a better student.

Friends who Sweat Together Stay Together. Having friends at the gym is a big motivator, with almost two-thirds (65 percent) of teens saying they would go to the gym more often with a buddy.

For more information on the Teen Summer Challenge, including how to sign up for the free membership at Planet Fitness locations, visit PlanetFitness.com/TeenSummerChallenge.

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