Montgomery County offers free recreation center fitness passes to residents in 2023

It’s the first week of the new year which means plenty of New Year’s resolutions are in the works, so to help Montgomery County residents with fitness minded goals, the county is offering free fitness passes at recreation centers.

The passes will give county residents free access to fitness rooms, game rooms and open gym activities at 22 of the county’s recreation centers.

Montgomery County official said the free passes are meant to help those that abandon their fitness goals due to a lack of resources.

"We wanted to make sure there were no tolls to the highway to health and make sure there was no barrier," said Robin Riley the Director of Montgomery County Recreation. "It was important for us as a county that we are following our commitment to racial and social equity."

Health officials say recreation centers across the county have already seen a huge increase in people taking advantage of the free amenities, in just the first week of the new year.

"The first day we were open on the third of January we actually did a thousand passes and compared to the year before we did 40. So big difference and we hope residents stay with it that it’s not just a New Year’s resolution, that it’s a whole year resolution," said Dr. Kisha Davis, Montgomery County's Health Officer.

Dr. Davis adds that offering free fitness resources comes at an important time.

"As a country and as a state we are more obese than we should be and we don’t exercise as much as we should be and we take in too many calories," said Dr. Davis.

FOX 5 spoke with some Montgomery County residents who are taking advantage of the free passes about what sparked their interest in getting into the gym.

"I was just in really bad shape and I just came back. And being 56 I had to change my workout like go higher Reps. And it’s not impossible and I meet great people when I work out here and they help me stay just a little bit longer," said Jonathan Panczyk.

Panczyk adds that his New Year’s resolutions include kicking his smoking habit, and he believes, that goes hand in hand with taking care of his fitness priorities.

Another county resident, Matthew Richardson said he didn’t really have a New Year’s resolution when it comes to fitness, but is taking advantage of the free equipement he now has access to, thanks to the county's free fitness passes. 

Richardson said he needed a stationary bike after tearing his tendon running, and the free passes help avoid having to pay an expensive membership fee for a traditional gym.

"I don’t have you know set goals per se but I try to be active almost every day of the week so this is going to be probably a destination four or five times a week for me right now," explained Richardson.

The passes are being offered throughout 2023.

Click here to learn more about how to get your free fitness passes.