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Planet Fitness; mental health; summer program

Planet Fitness sign

Most people would agree that the past two years have been hard. They’ve been particularly difficult for teens: many started high school virtually, or graduated via zoom and went straight into zoom college classes. The mental health crisis amongst teens continues to be an issue that adults are desperately trying to address. Pew Research Center reports that 37% of high school students, private and public, report that their mental health was not good most or all of the time during the pandemic. While restrictions are lifted, the lingering effects of poor mental health still remain for struggling teens.

Planet Fitness, the nationwide fitness club, is doing their part to help. May 2, Planet Fitness announced they would be opening their doors to high school students ages 14-19 for free to not only help with teens physical health but their mental health as well. The passes to the gym will be good through August 31 and there’s no catch outside of having a parent’s permission upon sign up. This isn’t the first time the fitness center (that has over 2,200 locations) has opened its doors to teens. The Summer Pass program first started in 2019 under the name Teen Summer Challenge and had over 900,000 teens participate.


The unique program aims to get kids active in an effort to boost their moodi. Teens spend a lot of time indoors and on social media, whether it’s Discord or TikTok. It doesn’t take much to get caught up in the infamous doom scroll. Planet Fitness also cites the Journal of American Medical Association’s findings that less than 15% of teens get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day to back their reasoning behind the program.

The fitness giant didn’t stop there. Planet Fitness commissioned a national study that found 93% of teens want to stay healthy and active over summer break. Signing up for the program also automatically enters teens into The Planet Fitness High School Summer Pass Sweepstakes. One student participant from each state will win a $500 scholarship, and one grand prize winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship. Winners of the scholarships can use the funds on academics or athletic purposes.

assorted gym equipment inside the gymPhoto by Mark Bertulfo on Unsplash

By providing this program for free (it's also available in Canada), it allows teens that may have not otherwise been able to afford a gym membership to participate, as long as they live near a Planet Fitness. Benefits of exercise on mental health have been proven time and time again. People who participate in regular exercise can experience a boost in mood, which can decrease anxiety and depression. Exercise also helps to decrease stress and increase self-esteem and self-confidence according to the National Library of Medicine.

Having a program specifically designed with teenagers in mind is amazing. The fact that the fitness club also gives the high schoolers a chance to win money for their education is just the icing on the cake. If you’re interested in signing your teen up, you can do so here. Here’s to a happy and healthy summer!

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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