HAMPTON, N.H., Oct. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Planet Fitness, Inc., one of the largest and fastest-growing global franchisors and operators of fitness centers with more members than any other fitness brand, invites everyone in the U.S. who votes to come in for a free workout and HydroMassage from Election Day (Tuesday, November 3) through Sunday, November 8. As home of the Judgement Free Zone®, Planet Fitness has a longstanding commitment to providing a non-intimidating and comfortable workout environment for all, which is especially important during this stressful time. Find your nearest location here*.
It's been a challenging year for many due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with 78 percent of adults noting the pandemic is a significant source of stress in their lives** – and stress caused by the presidential election has only made it more difficult. An overwhelming majority of Americans today (81 percent) are stressed out by hearing political news, an increase from the 68 percent who said they were stressed when asked the same question in March of this year***. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) wish they could turn off election conversations to get a break. Younger generations – Generation Z and Millennials – are, in fact, 50 percent more likely than older generations – Gen X and Boomers – to lose focus or concentration throughout the day because of their election stress (34 percent versus 22 percent). And the elections are nearly inescapable, as Americans identify social media as a leading cause of stress – in addition to reading the news and watching T.V. – with 44 percent conflicted when friends post political opinions they don't agree with online.
Fortunately, many have also discovered outlets to help reduce their stress, including working out. Nearly 94 million Americans use exercise to manage their election stress, with 40 percent typically working out for longer stretches of time around the election. In terms of what their routines consist of, nearly half (46 percent) incorporate more meditative exercises into their routines ahead of Election Day.
"This year has been undoubtedly challenging for multiple reasons, with study after study noting the deterioration of people's mental health as a result of the immense anxiety and stress throughout the year. It's more important than ever to be mindful of both your mental and physical health," said Jeremy Tucker, chief marketing officer at Planet Fitness. "At Planet Fitness, we want to help everyone reduce stress as we head into the final days of the election season with a free workout and HydroMassage in our clean, comfortable and spacious clubs. There's no better time to form a safe routine at Planet Fitness and improve your everyday life, as fitness can be the perfect solution."
Pizza to the Polls
In addition to opening its doors nationwide on Election Day and beyond, Planet Fitness is also partnering with Pizza to the Polls, a nonprofit whose mission is to provide food to people at polling sites with long lines, to help feed and reduce stress among all who exercise their right to vote in person. Planet Fitness' history is intertwined with pizza dating as far back as 1999 when a day-long shortage of hot water in its Concord, N.H., club – the company's third location – prompted its staff to order pizza for members in appreciation of their patience and understanding.
Work Out While Waiting in Line to Vote
To help those in long voting lines reduce stress and keep moving – before or after enjoying a slice – Planet Fitness' Head of Health and Fitness Excellence Teddy Savage offers important tips when standing for extended periods:
Remember to Breathe: By doing a couple simple breathing techniques, you can reduce stress, lower your heart rate and blood pressure and clear your mental palate.
Box BreathingExercise: Close your eyes, breathe in through your nose while counting to four, slowly. Hold your breath inside while counting slowly to four. Resist the urge to clamp your nose or mouth. Begin to slowly exhale to that same four count. Repeat at least three times.
Shoulder Shrugs: This simple motion increases oxygen flow to the brain by 30 percent, which promotes enhanced cognitive function.
Stretch Out: Stretching improves blood flow to your muscles and lubricates the joints for optimum range of motion. This triggers the release of serotonin or the "happy chemical" from your brain that contributes to mental wellbeing and happiness. Perform an overhead shoulder stretch, cross-body stretch and hamstring stretch.
Light Movement: Physical activity, even in short bursts, can have reverberating positive effects on your mental and physical wellbeing. Some exercises to keep in mind while waiting in line include:
Standing Crunches for good core engagement, which improves posture;
Air Squats into Calve Raises to stimulate the lower body for a strong foundation; and
Marching in Place to increase your heart rate for enhanced cardiorespiratory health. Repeat as many times as you desire or for however many minutes as it takes to cast your vote.
Planet Fitness hosts its 'United We Move' digital workout series on Facebook each weekday which consists of 20 minute (or less) live workouts that don't require any equipment, all designed to combat stress while keeping everyone physically and mentally fit. Teddy Savage is hosting a special 'United We Move' workout on Tuesday, November 3, at 7:00 p.m. EST with exercises and tips to de-stress after voting – a much-needed activity to help ease everyone into a post-election routine.
Before and certainly during the COVID-19 pandemic, Planet Fitness' top priority remains keeping its members and employees safe. New and returning members alike will see first-hand the enhanced safety and sanitization protocols at its well-ventilated and spacious clubs, such as:
Touchless check-in (simply download the free Planet Fitness mobile app to scan in at the front desk)
A crowd meter on the Planet Fitness mobile app that allows members to check the club capacity in real-time before leaving the house
Increased sanitization every 20 minutes to continually clean and sanitize high-touch areas
Social Fitnessing™ in which some cardio machines and equipment are marked out of use so members have ample space and separation for physical distancing
Mask requirements, except while actively working out, and in accordance with local restrictions
Employees receiving daily temperature checks and personal protective equipment, including having to wear a mask at all times
*Participating locations only – check https://www.planetfitness.com/gyms/ for locations and hours **American Psychological Association – Stress in America ***Two online surveys conducted by Kelton Global, a Material Company. The first survey was conducted online among 2,079 Americans aged 18+ during the period of March 2-13, 2020, and has a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percent. The second survey was conducted online among 1,004 Americans aged 18+ during the period of October 16-18, 2020, and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.
About Planet Fitness Founded in 1992 in Dover, NH, Planet Fitness is one of the largest and fastest-growing franchisors and operators of fitness centers in the United States by number of members and locations. As of June 30, 2020, Planet Fitness had more than 15.2 million members and 2,059 stores in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Mexico and Australia. The Company's mission is to enhance people's lives by providing a high-quality fitness experience in a welcoming, non-intimidating environment, which we call the Judgement Free Zone®. More than 95% of Planet Fitness stores are owned and operated by independent business men and women.