Some gym owners report seeing a 30 to 40% increase in traffic in the month of January. And most of those crowding in just signed up as part of their New Year’s resolution.

If you are one of the thousands currently shopping for a new membership, we would like to remind you about a few laws passed by the General Assembly to ensure that as you work to improve your physical shape, your financial shape stays intact.

In 1989, the General Assembly passed the Health Spa Consumer Protection Act. This act includes several provisions guiding health club memberships.

Every health spa must provide a copy of a written contract to the buyer at the time of purchase. The services to be provided must begin within 45 days from the day the contract is signed. And no contract should require payments or financing in excess of 25 months.

Should you change your mind after you signed the dotted line, you also have a right to cancel a contract within 3 business days. In the event you cancel the membership within those initial 3 days, the health spa must refund any money you paid within 30 days.

Memberships can be cancelled after 3 days if the you become physically disabled or move to another residence more than 50 miles from the health club.

We would recommend checking with the Secretary of State’s office to ensure that the club has been properly registered. And you can always check with the Better Business Bureau to see if the club has had any history of complaints.

If you feel as though a gym has not kept up with its end of the bargain, complaints can be filed with the Attorney General’s office.

A resolution to stay fit is one that not only benefits you but our entire state. Healthcare costs reduce significantly when we have a healthier population. We hope if this is your resolution, you find a way to make it as enjoyable as possible. Reading the fine print is an important first step.

Our members wish all Arkansans a happy and prosperous New Year.