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A new program is encouraging teens to get active and improve their mental and physical health


Working out is great for your physical and mental health. And it's also a great way for high schoolers to spend a summer.

The CDC reports that 60% of teens in Tennessee do not meet recommended activity guidelines and nearly 20% are obese or overweight.

Those kinds of stats are why there's a new program to encourage teens to get active Planet Fitness in Jackson is allowing 14-19 years olds to work out for free through the end of August.

"Sometimes there's not a lot to do when they're out of school. So we wanted to make sure that we were giving the kids something to do around this time," said Planet Fitness trainer Juan Smith.

Highschooler Dylan Martin said, "You feel better in your mind, you feel better physically, you have more energy and it's just up here is a good environment to start talking to the older guys. And once you start, you know, you don't want to stop."

Not only do teens who take part in the fitness program feel better, but they're also entered into scholarship sweepstakes. Prizes include a $500 scholarship and a $5000 grand prize scholarship.

"Actually I like it a lot. I didn't expect from you like because I came up here to kind of motivate one of my friends. It's about coming up here, but now like coming up here just to do it for myself," said Highschooler Syndesky Bowers.

Health experts stress that staying active in summer is important both physically and mentally, "mental health is very, very important, not only in older adults but definitely in children, especially like with the past two years and covered all of our mental health have taken a hit that exercise releases endorphins, which just makes your mood. It stabilizes you," said Public Health educator Amanda Johnson of the Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department.

Trainers tell us "getting teens in shape over the summer"... Is also good for the parents: "I think that they're loving it also because it gives their kids a chance to get off the couch and get away from the game," Smith said.

Getting "off the couch", and enjoying an active summer is what this new fitness program is all about.

"I've only come here two weeks, but I feel like my bodies on swoll already and it just makes me want to keep on coming here to make my body get better," Bowers said.

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