Planet Fitness invites teens to workout for free over summer – The Turlock Journal

While summertime for most kids means a vacation away from
homework, projects and stress, for students who utilize their school’s workout
equipment, remaining physically active during the hotter months can be
difficult. From now until September, Planet Fitness is challenging students to
keep up their healthy habits by giving them a place to workout for free over
the break.

Planet Fitness gyms nationwide — including Turlock’s — are
inviting high school teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 to work out free
of charge May 15 through Sept. 1 as part of the Teen Summer Challenge Initiative,
brought on by a recent online survey conducted by the gym which shows 91 percent
of teens want to stay active over the summer.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human
Services’ new physical activity guidelines, 80 percent of Americans do not
currently meet the recommended amount of physical activity. The guidelines also
challenge youth (ages six through 17) to pursue a minimum of 60 minutes of
moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day.

According to Planet Fitness Chief Executive Officer Chris
Rondeau, the Teen Summer Challenge gives local teens the opportunity to meet
and exceed those guidelines by way of cardio machines, strength training
equipment and even free fitness classes.

“Teens today are under ever-increasing pressure to succeed
academically and socially, battle a growing list of responsibilities both inside
and outside of the classroom and become well-rounded members of their
community,” Rondeau said. “We want to give teens across the United States 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.”

Today’s teens are more health-conscious than ever before,
according to a national study commissioned by Planet Fitness. Youth view
exercise as not only a way to be in shape, but also believe that it positively
impacts their mental health and focus on schoolwork.

The study also sadly found that nearly half of all teens
surveyed (42 percent) lack a positive body image, while two in five (41
percent) reported that their fitness levels decrease over the summer when
school is out.

According to Turlock High School physical education teacher
and coach Anthony Belew, free gym sessions at Planet Fitness will mainly
benefit those students who aren’t involved in athletics and won’t have access
to fitness equipment this summer. He teaches multiple weight lifting courses to
teens who don’t want to lose their progress over the break, he said, and this
will allow them to continue making strides even when school is out.

“I’ve got a lot of kids who live in the area and are looking
at me, asking if I’m going to be able to open the gym for them this summer…this
is really beneficial for them,” Belew said. “Some students are too intimidated
to join a team so they don’t have the means to continue lifting.

“This is awesome and the kids are going to love it, and
hopefully this will keep them going over the summer and we’ll see some big
gains when they get back.”

Pitman High School PE instructor Debbie Clemens said the
opportunity offered to students by Planet Fitness would help them keep up with
the state’s fitness requirements.

“A summer membership is a fantastic opportunity for our
students. Not only can they increase their level of fitness, they can continue
to master the standards set for them throughout the year,” she said.

THS PE teacher JoAnn Davison hopes the Teen Summer Challenge
will motivate students to carry over their fitness habits learned at school
into life at home over the next few months.

“Our PE motto at THS is strong body, strong mind, which is
in line with our umbrella motto at THS: thinkers, hard workers,
self-motivators,” Davison said. “As our 4th quarter is devoted to
transferring what we learn throughout the year to lifelong fitness, this is a
perfect community partnership.”

Teens can begin signing up to work out for free May 15, and
they’ll also be automatically entered into Planet Fitness’ Scholarship
Sweepstakes. By the end of the summer, 51 teens will be randomly selected to
receive a $500 scholarship, and one teen will receive a $5,000 grand prize.
Teens will also have the chance to win prizes on Planet Fitness’ Twitter and
Instagram accounts throughout the summer, like gym gear, movie tickets and
wireless headphones.

Teens ages 15 through 18 can sign up for the Teen Summer
Challenge by visiting Planet Fitness, 1360 W. Main St. Teens under 18 must
bring a parent or guardian to sign up, and once their waiver is signed, they
can workout alone. For more information, visit www.planetfitness.com/teensummerchallenge

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