In the midst of the growing cost of living crisis and the soaring expenses associated with health and fitness, a nationwide-first initiative is offering free fitness memberships to teenagers in Wagga.
The average Australian family spent around $1300 on sport and physical activities for their children in 2023, an increase of more than $200 compared with the previous year.
Planet Fitness has launched the Teen Fit Pass program, which will give teenagers free access to the gym over the summer, easing the pressure on household budgets.
“It’s a fantastic way to get teens into the gym and work out in the summer at no extra cost to their families,” says Wagga Planet Fitness general manager Sandra Ward.
“We know exercise is a proven way to boost mental health and reduce anxiety levels through the release of endorphins.”
Sandra says parents and guardians can be assured Planet Fitness provides a safe and supportive environment for their teenagers.
“At Planet Fitness, we pride ourselves on being a supportive and judgment-free zone for all our members,” says Sandra.
Fourteen-year-old Jorja Worton knows how vital it is for young people and families to have free and easy access to fitness equipment.
“Having something cheap would be great for those who can’t afford it … they can access the gym and be fit and healthy while young.
“Fitness is something I do because I enjoy it. I want to be the best possible version of myself,” Jorja says.
The 14-year-old participated in her first competition (Australia’s Strongest – Strongman Competition) in September and came third in her division.
“It was a novice competition, and I was one of the only kids there, which was a bit daunting,” Jorja says.
“I was fuelled by adrenaline and anxiety because I didn’t know how I would handle the weights.
“Eventually I grew confident after the second event and came third. I think I did pretty well in my first competition.”
Planet Fitness fitness training support manager Ashleigh Batcheler says it’s vital for teenagers to establish a regular exercise routine and build healthy habits.
“Teenagers are spending more time in front of screens and on their phones than ever before, and it’s having a negative impact on their mental health, with one in five Australian teenagers reporting high levels of psychological distress,” she says.
“While many teenagers get exposure to physical activity at school during the term, they’re often left in the dark come summer holidays.”
The Teen Fit Pass program is a free gym membership for teenagers aged between 15 and 19. It allows them access to top-of-the-line gym equipment at Planet Fitness’ Australian-based clubs and specialised online workout plans via the Planet Fitness app.