It has been a challenging and stressful year for many due to a number of things including the COVID-19 pandemic and Planet Fitness says 78% of adults note the pandemic is a significant source of stress in their lives along with stress caused by the presidential election.
Planet Fitness says 81% of Americans today are stressed out by hearing about political news, an increase from 68% who said they were stressed when asked the same question back in March. Most Americans, 63%, are also saying they wish they could turn off election conversation to get a break.
When it comes to Gen Z and Millennials, it is reported that they are 50% more likely than older generations, Gen X and Boomers, to lose focus or concentration throughout the day because of their election stress. Additionally, Americans say social media is a leading source of stress, in addition to reading the news and watching T.V., with 44% conflicted when friends post political opinions they don’t agree with online.
Luckily many have turned to working out as a way to destress during these tough times. It is reported that 94 million Americans use exercise to manage their election stress, with 40% generally working out for longer periods of time during the time of the election. When it comes to what their workout routine consists of, 46% reportedly incorporate more meditative exercises into their routine 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.”
In addition to opening its doors nationwide on Election Day and beyond, Planet Fitness is also reportedly 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.
For those stuck waiting in long voting lines, to help reduce stress and keep moving, 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 Breathing Exercise: 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.
As always, Planet Fitness continues to keep everyone safe by practicing enhanced cleaning and sanitary procedures including:
- 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
To find your nearest Planet Fitness club and take advantage of this offer open to all voters, please visit their website.