DES MOINES, Iowa — Summer is a time when teenagers generally have a lot of free time and even more energy. A fitness club in the metro is hoping to harness the combination by offering free memberships to teenagers.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said more than half of Iowa’s high school students do not meet the current 60-minute daily activity level recommended. Planet Fitness hopes to offer a free, zero judgment workout zone to help teens stay active this summer.
“To start off with at least getting the 30 minutes a day that’s recommended for adults, but then after so long you can feel the increase in your physical fitness level and start staying for an hour. Whether that’s an hour of treadmill time, stair master time, weight time, anything is going to beneficial,” Planet Fitness Iowa West District Manager Jil Tell said.
Anyone ages 15 through 18 can sign up for a membership, but anyone under the age of 18 does need a parent or guardian to come with them their first time to sign off on their waiver. There are four clubs in the metro. Ankeny, Des Moines, West Des Moines, and Urbandale. Normally memberships range from $10 to nearly $23 a month. Planet Fitness said they want to set teens up for success without the hindrance of a monthly fee.
“They can come in, there’s not a charge so there is not going to be that barrier of having to have enough money or if you’re worried about making your dues on time. We’re just allowing everybody to come in and try it out,” Planet Fitness Director of Operations Emily Dobmeier said.
In that same CDC study, it said 16 percent of Iowa high school students are classified as overweight, while 15.3 percent are considered obese. Planet Fitness wants to promote a healthy lifestyle in teens and get it started at a younger age.
“The obesity rates among children are an issue that we’re facing right now and so in our Midwest clubs, they slow down in the summer months. We already have the air conditioning on, we already have the door open, we wanted to be able to get the teens in here and get them started off on the right foot at an early age,” Dobmeier said.
Planet Fitness said it is so important to build a good work ethic as a teenager because you are setting up your future.
“As a teenager, you have so many distractions, whether it’s social media, or friends want to hang out, whether you’re trying to go to work and just spend time doing other things other than working out, it’s easy to put on the back burner and as a teenager you have so much energy and during the summer you have so much time to kill,” Tell said.
Not only is there a free membership but teens could potentially win some money. There is one $500 prize in scholarship money per state and one $5,000 scholarship prize in the nation all you have to do to enter is sign up for the free membership. The initiative ends September 1st.