LITTLE ROCK – Resolving to improve your fitness in the new year is a popular resolution, but Arkansans need to make sure they don’t get taken advantage of while trying to trim down after the holidays.
“The new year always seems like the perfect time for a fresh start,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “But we still need to keep our guard up and thoroughly research gym membership options to find the right fit for our specific needs. Taking a little extra time to find the perfect place will make our personal goals easier to reach in 2018.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for Arkansans to consider if you think a gym is the best choice for you:
Visit the gym during the hours you would normally use it to see if it is overcrowded. Notice whether the facilities and equipment are clean and well-maintained.
Consider the hours of operation when deciding on a gym membership.
Ask if the facility provides instructors or trainers. Many gyms will provide trainers for an additional cost.
Find out if the membership offers fitness classes and childcare and if they are included or require additional costs.
Inquire about the fees and schedule and if the facility requires a contract and auto-draft payments.
Ask about trial periods. Is there a time to sample the services and equipment for free and without any obligation to join?
Many gyms offer incentives to join during this time of year, but be cautious of high-pressure sales tactics or opportunities that seem too good to be true. Do the math to ensure the monthly and annual costs are affordable. And make sure everything discussed with the sales representative is stated in the written contract before signing on the dotted line.
Carefully review the cancellation terms of any gym contract prior to joining it. The Arkansas Health Spa Consumer Protection Act requires gym contracts to allow consumers to cancel a membership within three days of signing the contract and their money must be refunded within 30 days of cancellation. Consumers may also cancel a membership due to death, permanent and total disability or moving more than 50 miles away from the gym location, unless another location exists with the same company at the consumer’s new residence location.
The office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion encourages adults to do aerobic physical activity about 30 minutes, five times per week, and muscle-strengthening activities at least two days per week. StateofObesity.org recently released new data for 2016 and Arkansas is tied for the third most obese state in the country, with a 35.7% obesity rate.
For more information about consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or consumer@ArkansasAG.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.